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St. Clair County officials say they are not admitting any wrongdoing, but will pay up to $2,000 to each of three former county jail inmates who sued over alleged guard abuse.
County Sheriff Rick Watson tells the Belleville News-Democrat the county agreed to the payouts to save taxpayers the money it would cost to defend itself against the lawsuits.
In 2012, the trio claimed that they were among 14 inmates beaten in December 2011, four days after a fight between inmates and guards at the jail in Belleville.  
Watson says that, while he dislikes the settlements and would prefer to test the veracity of the allegations in court, he understands why the payouts were approved.
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