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City to pay $150,000 settlement to Lobaton family for excessive force

San Diego police officers beating man at City Heights home

Image taken from still of surveillance video. An officer grabbed the mother's neck and threw her to the ground.
Image taken from still of surveillance video. An officer grabbed the mother's neck and threw her to the ground.

The City of San Diego has agreed to pay Hedy Julca and Luis Lobaton $150,000, not including attorney's fees, for allegations that four police officers used excessive force during a July 29, 2014 incident inside the family's cell phone store in City Heights.

On that night Luis Lobaton and his girlfriend were using a key to enter the family's cell phone store, which also served as the family's primary residence. Officers on routine patrol assumed the couple were breaking into the store.

Two officers ran behind Lobaton and his girlfriend as they entered the store. Four additional police officers soon arrived. A scuffle caught on the store's surveillance cameras showed officers repeatedly punching Lobaton. Julca, Lobaton's mother, attempted to pry the officers off of her son. An officer grabbed her neck and threw her to the ground.

Officers arrested Lobaton and Julca. Lobaton was later charged with obstructing a peace officer.

Months later, after video of the incident was released, the city dropped the charges.

The family eventually sued the city and the four police officers for using excessive force, failing to properly supervise and train police officers, as well as attempting to cover up the assault in private interviews later given by the officers.

As first reported by the Reader, in December 2016 attorneys for the Lobatons and the city agreed to settle. The terms of the settlement, however, were not released and not final without city council approval.

The final approval is expected to occur on Tuesday, April 11, according to a city council agenda. The settlement will be paid out of the city’s Public Liability Fund. As for attorney’s fees, the amount will be decided by a judge during an upcoming hearing.

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Image taken from still of surveillance video. An officer grabbed the mother's neck and threw her to the ground.
Image taken from still of surveillance video. An officer grabbed the mother's neck and threw her to the ground.

The City of San Diego has agreed to pay Hedy Julca and Luis Lobaton $150,000, not including attorney's fees, for allegations that four police officers used excessive force during a July 29, 2014 incident inside the family's cell phone store in City Heights.

On that night Luis Lobaton and his girlfriend were using a key to enter the family's cell phone store, which also served as the family's primary residence. Officers on routine patrol assumed the couple were breaking into the store.

Two officers ran behind Lobaton and his girlfriend as they entered the store. Four additional police officers soon arrived. A scuffle caught on the store's surveillance cameras showed officers repeatedly punching Lobaton. Julca, Lobaton's mother, attempted to pry the officers off of her son. An officer grabbed her neck and threw her to the ground.

Officers arrested Lobaton and Julca. Lobaton was later charged with obstructing a peace officer.

Months later, after video of the incident was released, the city dropped the charges.

The family eventually sued the city and the four police officers for using excessive force, failing to properly supervise and train police officers, as well as attempting to cover up the assault in private interviews later given by the officers.

As first reported by the Reader, in December 2016 attorneys for the Lobatons and the city agreed to settle. The terms of the settlement, however, were not released and not final without city council approval.

The final approval is expected to occur on Tuesday, April 11, according to a city council agenda. The settlement will be paid out of the city’s Public Liability Fund. As for attorney’s fees, the amount will be decided by a judge during an upcoming hearing.

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