$1.3m settlement reached in the wrongful death lawsuit against Fresno PD

FRESNO, Calif.

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Steven Vargas, 32, was a father of five. He was killed in September of 2009.

Last month a federal court jury found that Fresno Police officer Sgt. Mike Palomino violated Varga's constitutional rights by shooting and killing him.

The Fresno City Council today approved the settlement, which also calls for changes in the way the police department deals with police shootings.

Arturo Gonzalez, the attorney for the Vargas family says those changes are more important than the money. "We actually thought it was quite important the chief was willing to make some concessions that we believe are in good faith, and we think that with those policy changes if the situation changes here for the people of this community it's more important to our cleients than trying to get as much money as they possibly could."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the department will speed up the investigation of officer involved shootings, provide additional training, and do a better job of communicating with the families of those involved in officer shootings.

Under the settlement, Steven Vargas' wife will receive a quarter of a million dollars and each of his five children will have money placed in a trust fund for their educations. The remaining $700,000 goes to Arturo Gonzalez and his law firm.

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