The children of a deceased 70-year-old man are suing the city of Los Angeles, alleging the LAPD’s shooting death of their father in 2017 was unjustified.
Alejandro and Alejandrina Linares, the offspring of the late Alejandro Mendez, brought the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations. LAPD Officers Charles Garcia and Ghanshym Patel also are named as defendants.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached.
Mendez was in a state of distress and appeared to be mentally disturbed when he was confronted by Garcia and Patel close to the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Broadway near downtown on March 4, 2017, the suit states.
Mendez had a stick in his hand and was yelling at pedestrians, the suit states.
Patel, who was on his first day of patrol, had a stun gun, but didn’t have a second cartridge, the suit states. The veteran Garcia did not have a stun gun, according to the suit, and the officers left their bean bag shotgun in the patrol car.
Garcia had a body camera, but it was turned off, the suit states. Patel did not have a body camera, according to the complaint.
The officers yelled at Mendez, who turned toward them, but did not threaten them with his stick, the suit states. Patel fired his stun gun at Mendez and missed, the suit states.
Bystanders began yelling, but the officers did not de-escalate the situation and Garcia fired two shots at Mendez, killing him, the suit states.
In 2018, the Police Commission found Garcia’s use of lethal force to be out of policy, the suit states. The commission also determined that Garcia’s failure to have a stun gun was a “substantial deviation” from approved department tactical training and without justification, according to the suit.
Patel limited the officers’ options by not having another stun gun cartridge, the commission concluded, according to the suit.
The commission also said that Garcia and Patel should gotten the bean bag shotgun instead of using lethal force.