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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 14, 1997)
| IP°IT*-I ** e _ TUESDAY
Little leader Don’t cry for her January 14,1997
t Point guard Tyronn Lue battles through a knee Madonna defies her critics to turn in a potentially '
injury to lead Nebraska to a pair of important vie- award-winning performance in the title role of SlOW LAUGHING
tones. PAGE 7 _ Alan Parker’s new film, “Evita.” PAGE 9 Snow today and tonight, i 15.
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By Matthew Waite
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The Lincoln City Council voted Monday to
accept a $200,000 settlement in wrongful-death
civil suits filed by the family of a man who died
one day after a scuffle with police.
In a meeting held before the council’s regu
| lar session, Lincoln City Council Chairwoman
Cindy Johnson said members unanimously ap
« proved the settlement of the Francisco Renteria
i case, which does not require the city and the
| University of Nebraska-Lincoln to admit any
The settlement ends all legal actions from the
| Renteria family against the city and the univer
1 “It is not an acceptance of guilt,” Johnson
said. “It’s the way our legal system works.
“It’s the best for the taxpayers. It’s a busi
| ness decision, not a legal decision.”
Decision ends Renteria family legal actions
against Lincoln and university police
Renteria died Oct. 1, 1994, one day after a
struggle with Lincoln and University of Ne
Renteria, a 28-year-old Spanish-speaking
immigrant who did not speak much English, was
stopped by University Police officer Charlotte
Veskma for questioning in connection with a dis
turbance in the area. After Renteria’s death,
police found he was not involved.
Four men were indicted fortheir involve
ment, inqjpdyig Police Chief Tom Casady, two
other police officers and a Lincoln fire captain.
Casady’s indictment was later dropped.
A jury acquitted LPD officers Luke Wilke
and Stephen Schellpeper, who responded to
Veskma’s call for assistance when Renteria re
fused to stop, of misdemeanor charges. A judge
ruled that Lincoln Fire Capt. Danny Wright did
not violate protocol in his treatment of Renteria.
Wrongful death civil suits against the Lin
coln Police Department and the Lincoln Fire De
partment, filed hy Renteria’s brother Jos6, were
scheduled to start in U.S. District Court Mon
Another wrongful death suit was filed against
the University Police department by Jos6
The suits claimed Renteria died as the result
of excessive force and negligent medical treat
ment after the scuffle. An autopsy revealed
Renteria died from asphyxiation due to vomit
inhalation and compressions of the neck.
With Monday’s vote, the city council gave
the Lincoln city attorney’s office the go-ahead
to enter into an agreement.
NU General Counsel Richard Wood said Fri
day the University of Nebraska would be in
volved in the settlement and would contribute
financially. He said the university’s involvement
would satisfy the civil suit pending against it.
Wood said the university does not believe
any employee acted negligently in the case, but
the settlement allowed NU to avoid the costs of
fighting the suit. He declined further comment
until the agreement was made public.
Dorothy Walker, the Renteria family attor
ney, said that short of signatures on the docu
ments, the city council vote was the last hurdle
to settling the suits. Now, she said, Jos6 Renteria
and Maria Vega, Francisco’s mother, must sign
the agreement — something Walker expected
to be done in the next week to 10 days.
“The settlement is not in any form or fashion
representative of their loss or the value of
Please see RENTERIA on 6
ComDuters tor Lefflslatt»e
By Erin Schulte
Senators in the Nebraska Legislature are
wired — and it’s not because of too many cof
Fifty-six Panasonic CS41 laptop computers
were purchased for the legislative chambers for
The money for the new technology came
from the legislative budget and a reserve fund.
The computers will allow senators to ac
cess copies of bills and e-mail electronically.
That means they can shove thick, cumbersome
books that contain hundreds of bill copies off
their desks and replace them with the slim
And that’s a lot of paper for about 900 bills
expected to be introduced in the Legislature this
The computers operate with a touch screen
— a $600 feature — instead of a mouse, leav
ing even more desk space open.
Sen. David Maurstad of Beatrice said the new
computers were invaluable. The best function
would be the computers’ portability, he said.
Eventually, instead of boxes brimming with
documents, senators will be able to take the com
puters home. They can then use a toll-free num
ber to access their legislative office through a
dial-in modem. Now, only 12 senators list e-mail
Other legislatures across the country have
chamber automation, Maurstad said, and it was
time for Nebraska to move ahead.
“It’s not the future. It’s now,” Maurstad said.
Other senators are not so ready to ditch their
hard copies for hard drives.
“I’ve made a deliberate effort not to get in
volved with computers,” said Sen. Roger
Wehrbein of Plattsmouth, who hires people to
do computer work for him. “But I suppose in
10, maybe even five years, we’ll never even give
it a thought.”
Sen. Elaine Stuhr of Bradshaw said the
computers would be helpful for sorting
through all the e-mail she gets during the lat
ter part of the session, when floor debate
prompts lots of mail.
“They’re going to be very helpful,” Stuhr
said. “I get quite a bit of e-mail during the ses
sion, and I even get mail asking me if I could
encourage other senators to make their e-mail
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