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Multimillion-dollar settlement for gang member could be appealed

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Plans to appeal a $5.7 million settlement for a gang member who was shot and paralyzed by Los Angeles police are moving ahead. 

Following a closed session, members of the L.A. City Council's Budget and Finance Committee agreed to appeal the civil judgment awarded to Robert Contreras. The motion to appeal was forwarded to the full council. 

A jury handed down the settlement after city council members declined to approve a $4.5 million offer supported by the City Attorney’s Office. The Los Angeles Police Department determined officers acted within policy when they shot Contreras, believing his cell phone was actually a gun. At the time, Contreras was fleeing a drive-by shooting, for which he was later convicted of attempted murder. 

After the council rejecetd the $4.5 million settlement, councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, said: “It’s really a question of trying to do what’s right in pursuing justice. And to stand up for the officers who put their lives at risk."

The request to appeal the settlement came from councilmen Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino — both reserve members of the LAPD. 

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