Beaten Migrants File $10 Million Claim

Attorneys for two Mexicans beaten by two sheriff’s deputies after a high-speed chase filed a $10 million claim Thursday against Riverside County.

The claim seeks $10 million for Enrique Funes Flores and $10,000 for Santiago Garcia Pedroza, said Peter Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Los Angeles, who filed the claim.

News helicopters videotaped the chase and beating, and the footage was played repeatedly in the United States and Mexico. Riverside County Sheriff Larry Smith condemned the beatings Wednesday and said the deputies used excessive force.

Deputies Tracy Watson and Kurtis Franklin were both suspended with pay.

The two men were among the 19 people in the truck, all identified as illegal immigrants from Mexico. They were released Wednesday and were given “voluntary departure” status, which allows them to remain in the country for six months.

A deputy was videotaped striking Flores six times with a baton. His companion, Alicia Sotero Vazquez, 32, also was beaten. Both remained hospitalized in Los Angeles, their lawyers said.

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