The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Erik Salgado, a 23-year-old man who was shot and killed by three CHP officers in 2020. The lawsuit alleged wrongdoing by the officers and sought damages over the incident that sparked protests and calls for criminal charges. Salgado and his girlfriend were driving a stolen vehicle when CHP Sgt. Richard Henderson and officers Eric Hulbert and Donald Saputa fired 18 shots at the car, killing Salgado and injuring his girlfriend.
The officers, part of an anti-car theft task force, claimed that the Dodge Charger attempted to ram them. Henderson, who had previously been involved in a fatal shooting in 2016, was one of the officers involved in Salgado’s death. The previous Alameda County District Attorney administration declined to charge the officers but expressed uncertainty about the events surrounding the shooting.
Civil rights attorney John Burris, representing Salgado’s girlfriend and family, called for the new District Attorney, Pamela Price, to reopen the case and pursue criminal charges against the officers. Price’s office has not yet responded to inquiries regarding the case review.
The $7 million settlement was reached before key stages of the case, including defense motions to reduce or dismiss the allegations. The settlement amount is comparable to other controversial police killings in the Bay Area. In 2020, the city of Vallejo paid a settlement over the shooting death of Ronell Foster by Officer Ryan McMahon, who was later fired for his involvement in the fatal shooting of Willie McCoy in 2019.
Additionally, the city of Pittsburg paid a settlement to the family of Humberto Martinez, who died after officers used force during his arrest.
A federal lawsuit against Vallejo officers involved in the killing of Sean Monterrosa on the same day as Salgado’s death is still pending.