Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to pay $492,500 to two men shot at by sheriff’s deputies in Long Beach in 2012, who were under the assumption they were moving a pound of methamphetamine in a truck full of lawnmowers.
After searching the car, no narcotics or weapons were found in the Ford Ranger.
On August 29, 2012, a narcotics detective was tipped off regarding two men potentially moving methamphetamine. He contacted two deputies on patrol early that evening.
The deputies located the Ford Ranger, eventually requesting the driver pull over on Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach. However, the truck moved left quickly, which “appeared to the two deputy sheriffs as an attempt to flee,” the summary provided to the board stated.
The truck then hit a vehicle stopped in front of it, and a deputy then walked to the driver’s side of the truck, asking the driver and passenger to show their hands, “at least three times in English,” according to documents. However, the driver and passenger did not comply, and the driver reached for the door. When he lowered his right hand out of view, the deputy fired three rounds, hitting the driver twice.
The other deputy reportedly thought the driver was shooting, and from his place on the passenger side of the truck, fired “five times as he retreated to their patrol car for cover, striking the plaintiff's vehicle,'' according to the summary.
The summary stated additional help was requested, and the occupants failed to comply with numerous requests in Spanish and English to move in order to be handcuffed. They were eventually taken into custody.
Although it was found the deputies acted in self-defense, the report acknowledged that “inadequate planning and poor tactics” contributed to the incident. Lawyers recommended the county settle with the occupants, based on litigation uncertainties and risks.
City News Service contributed to this report.