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Excessive force suit filed by Sunnyside man settled

Yakima County commissioners agreed to a $155,000 settlement in a case involving a Sunnyside man who was injured while being arrested by Yakima County Sheriff deputies on Feb. 28, 2010.

In their meeting this past Tuesday commissioners formally approved a negotiated settlement with Israel N. Estrada for a broken leg he suffered during the arrest.

Estrada was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction during the incident, but later found innocent. Deputies initially went to the residence on Maple Grove Road after neighbors reported hearing gun shots.

Estrada filed a notice of claim against the county, accusing deputies of using excessive force, in the amount of $15 million. When the claim was ignored by the county, a lawsuit was filed by Yakima attorney William Pickett, which eventually led to the settlement.

"This is an awesome family that was treated horribly," said Pickett. "While the vast majority of police are good people, unfortunately there will always be officers that don't treat citizens as they're supposed to. We should applaud when someone is brave enough to stand up and say, 'this is wrong' when it happens."

Pickett said the initial claim of $15 million, which was filed by a different attorney, may have been that high in order to justify any level of awards made by a jury if the case went to trial. Pickett also said the mediator on the case, John Cooper, did an excellent job in bringing the two sides together for a resolution.

Attempts to reach the attorney for the county were unsuccessful.

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