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City of Santa Cruz Settles in Sean Arlt Shooting

Announcing $1.6 million agreement, city hopes to move forward and work on mental health issues

As a family tries to heal, the city of Santa Cruz is attempting to close a controversial chapter in its history, at a cost of $1.6 million.

That’s the settlement the city has reached to resolve a lawsuit brought by the family of Sean Arlt over the police shooting that left Arlt dead in October of 2016.

The Santa Cruz City Council approved a settlement agreement with the Arlt family in exchange for the dismissal of all claims against the city. After a months-long investigation, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office concluded in February of 2017 that there was no legal wrongdoing on the part of the officer who fired.

Officers from the Santa Cruz Police Department were called to a home on the Westside when Arlt, who was in the midst of a mental health crisis, was pounding on someone’s doors. Police said that, when they arrived, Arlt charged them with a heavy metal rake.

In a press release on Monday, Nov. 20, Mayor David Terrazas expressed a desire “to progress forward” and work collaboratively on mental health issues.

News Editor at |

Jacob, the news editor at Good Times, won the 2014 award for best local government coverage from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. A longtime basketball and football fanatic, Jacob has evolved into a shameless fair weather fan and band wagoner for hot West Coast sports teams. He also enjoys arguing with others about where to find the best burrito in town.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Robert Norse

    November 21, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Another payoff and the usual chatter about “inadequate police training” while actual specifics about the killing–including all the video and audio as well as the witness and officer reports remain concealed in spite of repeated Public Records Act requests to the SCPD and the City. Looks like the City is again paying hush money rather than coming clean with no change in real policy or assurance that future killings will prompt firings and prosecutions and a change in leadership. And, as usual, the new boss (Mills) supports the discredited old boss (Vogel) with the intention of maintaining unjustified “respect” for the SCPD–and continued power.

    To follow some of the discussion, criticism, and countertestimony of the time, go to https://www.indybay.org/search/search_results.php?search=Arlt and look through the several dozen posts.

    The SCPD rides high again. Over the bodies of its victims.

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