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City of Tacoma pays out final $2.6 million in settlement over man shot by police

Cesar Beltran-Serrano was shot multiple times by a Tacoma police officer after a "simple social contact escalated to use of deadly force."

TACOMA, Wash. — The Tacoma City Council approved the final $2.6 million Tuesday night in a settlement agreement for a man shot multiple times by police.

The $2,633,302 is the last of the $6 million to be paid to Cesar Beltran-Serrano and Bianca Beltran, guardian of Beltran-Serrano and his estate, for the shooting that occurred on June 29, 2013.

The settlement is being paid by the city's excess liability insurance.

Beltran-Serrano, described in court documents as a "mentally ill homeless man," was shot multiple times by Officer Michel Volk after a "simple social contact escalated to the use of deadly force."

The Pierce County Superior Court dismissed negligence claims, agreeing with the city that the sole avenue for recovery must be an intentional tort claim for assault and battery, a lawsuit against the city states.

However, Beltran-Serrano's representative argued the officer failed to follow proper procedure, resulting in him being shot.

According to court documents, Officer Volk approached Beltran-Serrano at a corner where police had received a number of complaints about panhandlers. The officer approached him with the goal of educating him about the city's laws, according to court documents.

As the officer approached Beltran-Serrano, he laid on his stomach and started digging in a hole filled with trash., according to court documents. 

He shook his head "no" when asked if he spoke English.

While waiting for a Spanish-speaking officer, Volk continued to try to engage in conversation with Beltran-Serrano, according to court documents. The officer asked for identification before moving closer to him.

At that point, Beltran-Serrano became scared and started to run, according to court documents. Officer Volk shot him with a stun gun, according to documents.

The stun gun did not have the desired effect and the officer shot Beltran-Serrano multiple times, according to court documents.

The time between the officer calling for a Spanish-speaking officer and the shooting was 37 seconds, according to court documents.

The city said, according to Volk's statement, Beltran-Serrano had grabbed what looked like a piece of pipe out of the hole and swung it at Volk before running down the street, according to court documents.

After hitting Beltran-Serrano with the stun gun, Volk said Beltran-Serrano turned toward her, raised the object above his head and started to move toward her. Volk then fired her weapon until Beltran Serrano fell to the ground.