The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved $1.15 million for a settlement with the estate of Anthony Soderberg, a 29-year-old man who was shot 17 times by police on May 8, 2017.
Soderberg was killed in the shooting after engaging in a standoff at a house in Sunland, in which officers fired from a LAPD helicopter.
Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck had determined that the shooting was consistent with department policy, but the city’s police commission ruled 3-1 in May 2018 that a dozen LAPD officers violated policy. A 13th officer was found to have acted within policy.
One officer fired as many as 14 rounds and at least 40 rounds were fired during the standoff, with multiple rounds fired from a distance of 500 feet or more.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office determined that five officers — Joseph Goosby, Jonathan Pultz, Mario Rios, Michael Messenger and Robert Gallegos — used “lawful and reasonable force in self-defense (and) defense of others” in shooting at Soderberg from the ground and a police helicopter and that five others — Canaan Bodell, David Keortge, Cliff Chu, Juan Flores and Jerry Fritz — used lawful force in the apprehension of Soderberg.
There was “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that three other officers — Gregory Martin, Billy Lee and Jeremy Escamilla — unlawfully shot at Soderberg, who was likely already dead by then after rolling off a porch and into a ravine, according to the report on the shooting.
At about 9 a.m. on the day of the shooting, a woman woke to find a man in her kitchen. She escaped through a bedroom window and called police, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Officers responding to the 11300 block of Alethea Drive were told there was a handgun, a rifle, a shotgun and ammunition inside the home, according to Beck’s review of the incident. Responding SWAT officers determined that since Soderberg was in an “elevated position at the end of a cul-de-sac in hilly terrain,” he posed more of a threat.
A lieutenant contacted a captain and asked permission to bring in a helicopter. The request was relayed up the chain of command and approved, with a commander asserting that the helicopter with armed officers was the “safest means” to contain Soderberg if he began shooting.
The shooting marked the first time an LAPD officer opened fire from the air. The tactic had been considered before but never used.
Soderberg’s family sued the department alleging improper training and rights violations, according to the Times.
The $1.15 settlement was approved by the City Council with 12 members voting yes and only Councilman Joe Buscaino voting no.
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