Thursday, October 18, 2001
Page No.: 3
Panel Says County Should Pay $1 Million for Deputies’ Beating of Man
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
Los Angeles man who witnesses say was brutally beaten in front of his wife and two small children by sheriff’s deputies who were attempting to arrest him should receive nearly $1 million to split with his family, a county claims panel recommended yesterday.
On Sept. 3, 1998, Deputy Jarrad Goff cited a driver for El Indio Market for driving with a suspended license in front of the store and was in the process of supervising the tow truck driver when the market’s owner, Rafael Navarro, appeared outside his business and questioned the deputy.
Navarro and the deputy exchanged words about the towing during which Goff said Navarro challenged him to a fight.
When Navarro went back in his store, Goff called for back-up and two additional deputies arrived at the scene.
Goff and another deputy, Timothy Maclean, went into the store to arrest Navarro for making threats and interfering with a peace officer in the performance of his duties, county lawyers wrote.
In a supplemental police report, Waldo wrote, Navarro refused to submit to arrest and punched Goff in the mouth twice causing Goff to punch Navarro about the head two or three times.
Waldo said he used pepper spray on Navarro and after that appeared to have little effect, he said he sprayed him again.
Waldo later testified that after he sprayed Navarro a second time, Goff, who “had a total look of shock on his face,” stood up and cursed at Navarro and swung at him two more times, hitting him in the head.
But witnesses inside the store said the deputies, not Navarro, were the aggressors and they saw the deputies handcuff Navarro, punch him in the head and force his head onto the counter repeatedly.
Bystanders also said the deputies then used pepper spray on Navarro and forced his head into the wall.
The fact that the hole in the wall was caused by Navarro’s head is undisputed, but the one of the deputies claim that he and Navarro slipped while moving from behind the counter and Navarro’s head hit the wall, county lawyers wrote
Deputies failed to mention that Navarro injured his head while being arrested when writing their police report on the incident, according to a department corrective action report.
Navarro said Goff failed to call paramedics immediately. He suffered lacerations to his head, requiring stitches, as well as soft tissue injuries to the neck and upper body.
Navarro was diagnosed with “post-concussion syndrome” which causes flashbacks and depression, county lawyers wrote.
Navarro’s wife, Laura, witnessed the altercation and said she was also pepper sprayed. Laura Navarro and their two children who also witnessed the event are also claiming damages.
The $975,000 payment recommended by the County Claims Board would resolve claims by the entire Navarro family.
The Navarro’s attorney, Stephen Yagman, declined to comment on the settlement offer or the case.
Goff’s said that a number of his teeth were chipped by Navarro during the arrest, but those claims are not supported by physical evidence, a Sheriff’s Department report said.
Goff later resigned from the department for “unrelated personal reasons,” a department report said.
An investigation into Goff’s conduct was not completed because he could not be disciplined after he had resigned, according to the same report.
Goff was also investigated both by the Los Angeles County District Attorney and the United States Justice Department, but insufficient evidence prevented the agencies from bringing criminal charges against the deputy.
An Internal Affairs Investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Department into the conduct of Waldo, but the department said the allegations against him were unfounded.
Principal Deputy County Counsel Johanna Fontenot declined to comment on the case.
The payment is set to go before the county Board of Supervisors in November, she said.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company