OAKLAND -- The family of Jerry Amaro, who died after he was beaten by as many as five Oakland police officers in 2000, settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city for $1.7 million.

The City Council unanimously agreed to the settlement Tuesday.

Amaro, 36, died on April 21, 2000, from pneumonia caused by multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung. He had told his mother and several other people that he had been beaten by police officers who arrested him during a drug sting on March 23, 2000. The police report of the arrest made no mention of use of force.

Amaro was jailed for five days and repeatedly complained of pain in his ribs, which jail officials noted. On April 18, Amaro saw a doctor who took X-rays that revealed five rib fractures and a collapsed lung. The doctor recommended that Amaro seek emergency medical treatment to drain fluid from his lung. Amaro did not seek further treatment and died in his friend's basement three days later.

Attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin filed the federal wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Amaro's mother, Geraldine Montoya, in March 2009, shortly after the details of the internal police investigation were leaked to the press.


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Investigators found that Amaro had been "severely injured" during his arrest, and at least five officers had used "some form of physical prowess" on Amaro without noting the reason for such force or mentioning the use of force at all.

The report also concluded that the reporting officer falsified his supervisor's signature on the police report and the commanding officer, Lt. Edward Poulson, inappropriately met with the arresting officers before the interviews with Internal Affairs investigators.

The investigation also found that the officers were "derelict" in not seeking medical attention for Amaro.

Contact Sean Maher at smaher@bayareanewsgroup.com or 510-208-6430.