City settles ERACER-related lawsuits

KHOU-11's Lee McGuire reports that Houston taxpayers will wind up spending nearly $750,000 to settle lawsuits stemming from the infamous 2002 K-Mart parking lot raid:

Settling a lawsuit concerning two 2002 crackdowns on illegal street racing will cost taxpayers $731,617.

The Houston City Council Wednesday approved a settlement agreement between the Houston Police Department and two groups of teenagers. In a lawsuit, the teens claim they were detained and arrested in violation of their civil rights.

[snip]

Under the settlement, each of the 101 teenagers will get between $2,500 and $5,000, and it awards several hundred thousand dollars in attorneys’ fees.

The KHOU story does not mention that HPD was led by Clarence Bradford at the time, nor does it offer any quote from the current candidate for Harris County District Attorney. He may have been hiding from reporters under a table somewhere, though.

The Chronicle coverage does mention Bradford:

The city is close to settling the last two lawsuits stemming from the botched police raid and mass arrests in a Kmart parking lot in 2002.

If council approves the proposed settlements on Wednesday, the city will be finished with the legal fallout from the raid, which became a scandal for the Houston Police Department and then-Police Chief C.O. Bradford.

Bradford now is the Democratic candidate for Harris County district attorney.

Houston police arrested 273 people during an Aug. 17, 2002, sweep through a Kmart parking lot on Westheimer.

The sweep was part of a crackdown on illegal street racing, but Capt. Mark Aguirre ordered the arrest of everyone in the parking lot. Many of those arrested said they were store customers or passers-by.

The action was roundly condemned and led to the indictment of Aguirre on five misdemeanor charges of official oppression. He later was acquitted. Aguirre was fired in 2003. He unsuccessfully appealed his firing, saying he was being made a scapegoat for the botched raid.

There is no quote from Bradford in this story either. That table he's hiding under must be impenetrable!

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 06/22/08 11:07 PM | Print |

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