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Immigrants Settle In Videotaped Beating

Two illegal immigrants beaten by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies after a freeway chase will split a $740,000 settlement to settle a civil rights lawsuit, lawyers said Friday.

Alicia Sotero Vasquez and Enrique Funes Flores also agreed to drop a state suit for the settlement.

The county did not admit wrongdoing but the settlement “delivers an unmistakable message that in this country we do not enforce our immigration laws by means of hard batons and racial epithets,” said Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

The beatings happened in April 1996, after deputies and California Highway Patrol officers chased a pickup truck carrying 19 illegal immigrants from Temecula to South El Monte.

Television news cameras videotaped a deputy shoving Sotero onto the hood of the truck, then grabbing her by the hair and pulling her to the ground, where she and Funes were repeatedly clubbed.

Deputy Tracy Watson was fired, while Deputy Kurt Franklin was suspended and reassigned.