Police-attack victim may be compensated by city

A Carson City man who spent 30 days in jail after authorities broke down his door and pulled him out of the shower is up for a $40,000 settlement after being acquitted for obstructing officers.

Carson City supervisors will meet Thursday to decide whether to approve a $40,000 payment to Filiberto Lepe to settle an action brought in U.S. District Court.

The 26-year-old man sued the city and several sheriff's deputies after being arrested in a joint Tri-Net Narcotics/Sheriff's Department raid in 1999.

Lepe was arrested for "obstructing a peace officer," according to information provided to supervisors.

Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg did not want to comment, but did say that Lepe was an illegal alien. Lepe was in jail for 30 days and was later acquitted.

In his report to supervisors, Forsberg said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing, but designed to eliminate the risk of a larger judgement at trial and award of attorney fees agains the city.

According to the arrest report made by arresting officer Dan Holub, Lepe, then 22, was struck on the head by Holub with the butt of a pistol "eight to 10 times" until he stopped struggling.

Lepe was treated at Carson-Tahoe Hospital for the injury before going to jail.

Lepe did not speak English. According to Lepe's attorney, Andy Boles, Holub overcame the language barrier by drumming out the syllables of "police, get down" on Lepe's skull.

"My client spoke almost no English, if any, and the cops to our knowledge -- nobody on the scene spoke Spanish other than his family in the house," Boles said.

Although arrest reports indicate Lepe was "hiding" in the shower, Detective George Gerlach later testified that Lepe was taking a shower, wet and covered with soap, Boles said.

Also according to arrest reports, Lepe came out of the shower wielding a knife, although Lepe's attorney Boles said Detective Robert White testified that "both his hands were in the air, no knife, and palms out."

"This case is not over," Boles said. "There are six other plaintiffs in this case, and that includes the children who had guns pointed at their heads."


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