Santa Clara County, Ca., will pay $3.6 million to settle an excessive force claim filed by the family of Michael Tyree, the mentally ill inmate beaten to death last year, allegedly by three jail guards, reports the Bay Area News Group. County officials took the unusual step of settling the matter early rather than forcing the family to go to court with a lawsuit. “The settlement represents everyone’s effort to bring a difficult situation to a close,” said lawyer Paula Canny, who represented Tyree’s sisters. “To the family, they’d much rather have their brother back.”
The settlement is roughly comparable in today’s dollars to the $1.7 million Santa Clara County paid to settle the 1995 death of inmate Joseph Leitner, who fell into a coma from lack of oxygen and eventually died after five correctional officers put a blanket over his head as they forcefully carried him to the eighth-floor psychiatric ward. The Tyree case was resolved for less money than some counties have paid to compensate relatives for similar jail deaths. Last year, Alameda County and its jail medical services provider Corizon Health paid a record $8.3 million to settle a lawsuit filed by relatives of inmate Martin Harrison after he was fatally beaten and tased by jail guards.