Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a $2.8 million payout to a man whose left eye was shot out by a sheriff’s deputy during a confrontation with a graffiti vandal.

Just after midnight on Aug. 4, 2013, deputies out of the Pico Rivera station spotted a man spray-painting graffiti on a cinder block wall on Rosemead Boulevard near Shenandoah Avenue.

“Knowing the inherent danger of contacting gang members and graffiti crews, (the deputies) drew their weapons while simultaneously ordering the man to stop moving and show his hands,” according to a case summary provided to the board by the county counsel’s office.

The tagger dove into the open front passenger side window of a waiting car, which then sped toward one of the deputies.

“Fearing for his life and while still retreating, the deputy fired four rounds from his duty weapon toward the driver,” according to the summary.

The deputy was found to have acted in self-defense and both deputies were deemed to be “well within policy” when they drew their weapons on the tagger, according to the document, which states that taggers “are known to be violent, armed and frequently shoot at those who confront them.”

Gonzalo Martinez, a passenger in the back seat of the car who was shot in the face and lost his left eye, filed an excessive force suit against he Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Citing the risks and uncertainties of litigation, county attorneys recommended settlement and the board voted unanimously to approve the $2.8 million total.

The driver and the tagger were both convicted of vandalism and sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.

–City News Service 

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