The family of a man who was killed when he was shot by a Los Angeles police officer and run over by a squad car filed a federal lawsuit against the city Wednesday and also called on District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file charges against the officers.
Eric Rivera, 20, of Lomita died on June 6 in Wilmington. The LAPD said he was holding what turned out to be a toy gun, and that the officer driving the squad car jumped out of it before the shooting and forgot to put it in park, which caused it to roll forward and onto Rivera.
Arnolda Casillas, an attorney for Rivera’s parents, said Officers Arturo Urrita and Daniel Ramirez should be charged with a crime.
“This at the very least is a negligent homicide. And if she doesn’t charge the shooter she should at the very least charge the driver. This is a negligent homicide. Jackie Lacey, do your job,” Casillas said a news conference at his office in Long Beach.
Lacey’s office did not respond to a request to comment.
According to the LAPD, the department received a report of a man with a gun, and the officers encountered Rivera as he was walking down the street along Wilmington Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway around 8:50 p.m.
According to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, the officers saw what they thought was a gun in Rivera’s hand and got out of the vehicle so fast that the officer driving forgot to put it in park. At least one officer shot Rivera several times before the car ran him over.
Casillas said the shooting was unjustified because the officers told Rivera to get down on the ground as the car was rolling forward, and that he likely made a move the officers perceived as non-compliant when all he was trying to do was get out of the way of the car. He also said the first shot hit Rivera in the back, indicating he was not threatening the officers.
“What happened to him was completely wrong. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” said Valerie Rivera, Eric’s mother. “I want justice for my son. They need to answer for what they did.”
–City News Service