Deal reached in 2002 street racing raid

April 14, 2008 9:48:24 AM PDT
Nearly six years after Houston police arrested almost 300 people in a street racing raid that erupted into outcries of civil rights abuse, dozens who later sued the department appear close to reaching a deal with the city. Now, dozens who later sued the department over the incident appear close to reaching a settlement agreement with the city.

The tentative deal would settle at least nine of 10 federal lawsuits, which include more than 100 plaintiffs swept up in the 2002 sting in a Kmart parking lot.

Lawyers for both sides confirmed the tentative deal but decline to reveal the settlement amount. They're to appear in court today, when jury selection had been slated to begin.

Houston police were trying to crack down on street racing when they picked up 278 people in one night outside the discount retail chain. Most of those arrested were charged with trespassing or curfew violations, but none was accused of street racing. Some of those arrested contended they were innocent Kmart customers, and the charges were dropped.

Plaintiffs accused police of brandishing firearms and verbal abuse. Police Chief C.O. Bradford resigned a short time later.

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