County Pays $2.6 Million to Survivors of Man Killed by SWAT Team

Sara Rubin, Monterey County Weekly, August 22, 2013
Two-and-a-half years after a SWAT team raid gone awry left a 31-year-old Greenfield man dead and his home a charred wreck, the county has agreed to pay $2.6 million to the survivors of Rogelio Serrato. ... Serrato died of smoke inhalation after his home went up in flames, the result of a flashbang device lobbed through a living room window that rapidly set fire to a couch. The flash-bang device - used to distract suspects with loud popping sounds and bright flashing light - was deployed with disregard for safety and protocol, according to a brief filed by Oakland-based attorney Michael Haddad, who represented Serrato's two young sons in the case. ... "One thing striking in this case is there were many people up the chain of command who could've intervened and stopped this highly dangerous tactic," Haddad says of the top officials back at the sheriff's office who signed off on the plan. "Nobody stepped up and said, 'Wait a minute, this is too dangerous and it doesn't make sense.' The result is, they burned a house down and killed a man."

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