On Tuesday, June 21, San Diego city councilmembers are expected to settle the second excessive-force lawsuits against San Diego police officer Laura Smith.
While the amount has not yet been made public, court documents filed early this month confirm a settlement has been reached. Attorneys are awaiting council approval.
The lawsuit was filed by José Rios and his wife Elba in December 2013. As reported by the Reader, the Rioses allege that officers Laura Smith and Bruce Porterfield were answering a domestic disturbance call made by the Rioses' neighbor.
The neighbor claimed that José Rios had tried to run him over with his car. Upon arriving at the scene, Porterfield and Smith entered the Rioses' apartment to interview José Rios, who asked his 12-year-old son to record the interview on his computer tablet. Porterfield allegedly became angry, grabbing Rios and handcuffing him.
José Rios's wife began to walk toward her husband to tell the officer that he was diabetic and needed his medication. As she approached, Smith allegedly pushed her to the ground. Officers arrested the husband and wife but not before José Rios suffered an injury to his leg. The district attorney chose not to file charges.
Five days before the June 6 trial date, according to the federal court's website, the two sides reached a settlement agreement. Attorneys for the husband and wife did not respond with information regarding the settlement.
The settlement is the second over a two-month period for the city and Officer Smith.
On May 11, 2016, the city and Smith agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Whitney Mathis. Mathis claimed that police officers had pulled over her boyfriend after parking at their University Heights apartment complex for allegedly driving under the influence.
During the traffic stop, Mathis objected to her boyfriend's arrest. As she did so, Smith allegedly slammed Mathis into the hood of her boyfriend's car. Smith's partner, Larry Howell, then reportedly struck Mathis in the face. Smith and Howell arrested Mathis. Again, the district attorney's officer chose not to file any charges.
According to the settlement, both sides agreed to dismiss the case and pay for their own attorneys' fees.