Sacramento pays $3M to man shot, wounded by police

Posted at 8:08 PM, October 12, 2021 and last updated 8:40 PM, June 14, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sacramento is paying $3.25 million to an Iraq veteran who was shot and seriously wounded by police during a 2017 standoff, it was reported Tuesday.

Kristopher Velez was hit at least four times in the chest, shoulder, arm and leg. He suffered broken bones and nerve damage, is partially disabled and needs additional surgeries, according to his federal lawsuit alleging negligence and excessive force.

After discussing the matter in August, the City Council agreed to settle the suit but didn’t announce a decision in open session, the Sacramento Bee reported. The paper learned of the decision from a California Public Records Act request.

Velez had missed a court date for a misdemeanor offense and bail bond agents forced themselves through a window of his south Sacramento home to take him into custody in September 2017, according to his lawsuit.

Velez, who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, retreated to his bathroom with a gun and police were called.

Velez’s suit said at one point he accidentally fired a gun before a police sergeant convinced him to come out of the bathroom.

“The sergeant calmly interacted with Velez and reassured him that he could safely come out of the bathroom and put down the gun and that no one was going to hurt him,” the lawsuit said. “After some time, Velez came out of the bathroom and, after accepting the sergeant’s reassurances, put his handgun down on the floor, at which time he was immediately shot.”

A police statement released in October 2017 said Velez had “displayed the gun in the direction of the officers.”

Velez was never charged with a crime and the sergeant who shot him was still on the police force as of April, the Bee reported.

In a statement, city spokesman Tim Swanson said the settlement agreement was “fair and reasonable.”