The parents of a Guatemalan immigrant who was shot dead by San Francisco police have filed a lawsuit in federal court, accusing the police of excessive force. The lawsuit also alleges that the police chief and city failed to properly train and oversee the police department.
The man, age 20, died on February 26 after plainclothes police officers shot him six times in the Mission District. According to police, the man acted erratically and lunged at a police officer with a knife over his head. The lawsuit, however, claims that the victim, who was a construction worker, was trying to flee from a man who was taunting him when he was grabbed from behind by the plainclothes officers.
The victim was not able to determine that the men were police officers, and they did not identify themselves. According to the lawsuit, he wriggled free from the grip of one of the officers, and one officer fired five shots into his back, while the other shot him in the back of his head. The lawsuit did not address the allegation that the man was brandishing a knife.
The plaintiffs allege that this incident is not the first time that the officers involved have used excessive force. Both officers were sued in federal court in 2009 by a man who alleges that he was beaten with a baton. The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount.
The man’s parents told reporters that they sent him to the United States to live, and never expected that their son would be killed by police officers. It’s unclear whether the man was in the country legally. A spokesperson from the San Francisco Police Department refused to discuss the lawsuit.
Being a police officer can be a tough job under the best of circumstances. Their jobs often involve violence, and they are justified in many cases in using a large amount of force. However, in some cases, police officers do abuse their power, and when that occurs they must be held accountable. The agency they work for can in many cases be held responsible, if it failed to adequately train law enforcement officers or was negligent in its hiring practices. In the past year, there have been several well-publicized incidents involving excessive force by police officers, some of which have resulted in rioting.
Wrongful conduct by police can include not only excessive force when apprehending a suspect, but also shootings, sexual assaults, false imprisonment, and other types of wrongful conduct. With the widespread use of smart phones in recent years, more and more of these incidents are being captured on smart phones, which makes it much easier to prove that police brutality occurred.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of police brutality or misconduct, you should contact an attorney as quickly as possible. There are time limitations, and the longer you wait, the more difficult it can become to prove your case. In many cases, the person who was mistreated by the police has a criminal record, and that can make it harder for the person to be believed. An attorney can help make your case easier to pursue.
If you have been the victim of police brutality or police misconduct in the San Francisco area, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco Police Misconduct Attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that although police officers have a tough job and in many cases must use force, when they use excessive force they should be held legally responsible. Call her today to schedule your free consultation. You do not pay any fees until she obtains a recovery for you.