Sacramento Suspect Won $7,500 Settlement From County Just Days Before Shooting Killed Six

Sacramento shooting suspect Smiley Martin, 27, is set to receive a $7,500 settlement by Sacramento County over an attack by gang rivals while he was jailed in 2018.

Martin, one of the suspects in the early morning April 3 downtown shootout that killed six adults and injured 12 others, was also injured in the gun battle. The suspect, who has a lengthy rap sheet, claimed a jail guard allowed rival gang members to interact, which resulted in his being surrounded and having hot water thrown on him.

The guard he accused allegedly released the gang members for breakfast at the same time, a policy violation.

Martin, who represented himself in the lawsuit, said he was denied immediate medical attention and threatened after he filed a report. His hand-written grievance claimed second degree burns on his right hip.

The settlement, which was signed April 1, is described by Sacramento County spokesperson Kim Nava as “purely economic.” Nava said the decision to settle the case was due to the trial date approaching and likely being pushed back several months due to the COVID backup. This would result in multiplying costs for the county.

Martin is still recovering from his wounds in an area hospital and will be incarcerated when he is released. Sacramento Police identify him as one of five gunmen in the shootout between at least two local gangs. He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon but only has a gun possession charge so far.

In a parole hearing last year, the DA’s office noted he had committed several felonies and had “little regard for human life.” He has served time for a string of robberies, possession of an assault weapon, domestic violence, and other crimes. A letter to the Board of Parole Hearings from the DA early last year asked for denial of his release, warning that “he will continue to break the law.”

The settlement awarded the alleged shooter just days before the horrific incident in Sacramento further reflects the dysfunction of the criminal justice system. A far worse indictment of the system, however, is the fact that Smiley Martin was walking around a free man at all. Until that flaw in the system is changed, everything else is just window dressing.