Supervisors to authorize settlement in lawsuit claiming “battery” by SCV Sheriff deputies


County supervisors are expected to finalize a settlement reached in a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was beaten by local sheriff’s deputies on Christmas Eve in 2016.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to vote on a recommendation to authorize a $150,000 settlement in the civil case of John Clyde Warner vs. the County of Los Angeles.

The tentative settlement reached between Warner and the county took place in U.S. District Court on Jan. 23.

In the lawsuit, Warner alleges that, on Dec. 24, 2016, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrested him on suspicion of trespassing and, a short time later, assaulted and battered him while booking him.

Warner claims in the suit that the resulting injuries landed him in hospital for three days.

In approving the recommendation, supervisors are expected to instruct the county auditor-controller to draw up a warrant to pay the settlement out of the Sheriff’s Department Contract Cities Trust Fund’s budget.

In a note made available to supervisors explaining reasons for the settlement, County Counsel lawyers wrote: “Given the risks and uncertainties of litigation, a full and final settlement of the case in the amount of $150,000 is recommended.”

They point out in their memo to supervisors: “This lawsuit involves allegations of false arrest and battery by sheriff’s deputies.”

According to County Counsel, the incident happened Dec. 24, 2016, when the SCV Sheriff’s Station received a call of trespassing at one of the three local Walmart locations (it was not clear which one).

Walmart security workers — referred to as asset protection associates — told deputies that Warner had been living in his truck, which had an attached camper, in the store’s parking lot.

Walmart staff told deputies, according to county lawyers summing up the incident for supervisors, that the store manager had asked them on Dec. 18 to tell anyone living in their vehicles on the store parking lot to move to another section of the parking lot.

When staffers noticed Warner’s camper on the lot on Dec. 24, they called deputies.

“The plaintiff (Warner) stepped out of his camper and was subsequently arrested for trespassing,” County Counsel lawyers wrote in their summary.

Once at the SCV Sheriff’s Station, two deputies escorted the man into the jail cell.

At one point, the arrested man threw his socks at one of the deputies, causing the second deputy to perceive that “the plaintiff had struck him in the face with his hand.”

“Due to the plaintiff’s battery against him, the first deputy sheriff tackled the plaintiff as he entered the open cell and took him to the ground.

“Both deputy sheriffs engaged the plaintiff and struggled with him on the ground, while attempting to control and re-handcuff him.  

“During the struggle, the first deputy sheriff felt the plaintiff bite his right hand. The first deputy sheriff reacted to the bite by hitting the plaintiff one time in the face with an open palm.”

Before the man was subdued, the first deputy “hit the plaintiff an additional four times in the face with an open palm.”

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