The $1.2 million settlement came toward the end of a month-long trial. The family of Garcia, who was 24, sued Barrier Free Living, arguing the city-contracted nonprofit for people with disabilities failed to protect the victim. Felipe Rivera-Cruz, who, like Garcia, uses a wheelchair, is currently serving a 25-years-to-life prison sentence.
Before the fatal encounter, the two men got into a fistfight after Garcia made a comment about Rivera-Cruz’s manhood, authorities said. They knocked each other out of their wheelchairs and on the floor during the melee before staff broke it up. The men were then separated and cops were called.
At the trial, Barrier Free Living officials claimed they lost incident reports filled out by staff during the attack. And they couldn’t find the portion of a video showing Rivera-Cruz ride past the security guard on the main floor.
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