Los Angeles Police Department cruiser.
Photo by John Schreiber

The parents of a 16-year-old boy shot and killed by Los Angeles police in Boyle Heights in 2016 sued the city and two officers Monday, saying their son was shot 19 times without provocation and that no commands were issued to him before officers opened fire.

Juan and Josefina Mendez, the father and mother of Jose Mendez, brought the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court a day before the second anniversary of their son’s Feb. 6, 2016, death, alleging wrongful death, civil rights violations and assault and battery. The two officers named in the complaint are Josue Merida and Jeremy Wagner.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, said city attorneys will review the complaint, but he had no additional comment.

The teen, who was barely over five feet tall and weighed 115 pounds, was driving on Lorena Street about 10:45 p.m., the suit states. The officers conducted what the suit states was a “high risk” traffic stop because of the area and time of day and due to the car possibly having been stolen, the suit states.

However, the officers did not follow LAPD protocol for such a situation, which required they seek backup and order the suspect to leave the vehicle with his hands up, the suit states. Instead, the officers ran toward the teen’s car and shot him in the side of the head, back, chest and legs after he pulled into a driveway on Sixth Street, the suit alleges.

The boy was shot 19 times and Merida and Wagner did not issue any commands to the teen before opening fire, according to the suit.

The two officers then cut the seat belt the teen was wearing, dragged his body from the car and put him on a sidewalk about 30 feet away, the suit states.

“Accordingly, the shooting and killing of Jose Mendez was unjustified and this use of force was unwarranted and excessive under the circumstances,” according to the lawsuit.

Wagner was involved in other officer-involved shootings in 2010 and 2014 and Merida was involved in the same 2014 incident, according to the lawsuit.

–City News Service

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