A federal jury in Los Angeles has delivered a unanimous verdict against the two officers of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) who fatally shot Tyler Woods in a November 2013 incident, awarding Woods’ parents $1.05 million in damages, the lawyer representing Woods’ parents announced Wednesday.
The City of Long Beach also agreed to settle a lawsuit filed in conjunction with the one on trial, committing to pay $1.9 million to the son of Tyler Woods, who was an infant at the time Woods, 19, was killed.
The ruling and the settlement mean Woods’ family members will receive approximately $3 million total in damages.
“The jury’s verdict in this case reflects a shifting tide among the community, a feeling that enough is enough—when a police officer shoots and kills an unarmed person, we will not uncritically accept ‘he reached for his waistband’ as an excuse,” said the Woods’ attorney John Fattahi in a statement. “The members of this jury clearly understood that the plaintiffs suffered a horrendous loss when their son was violently killed, and they refused to trivialize that loss simply because the plaintiffs were incarcerated or because their son had a warrant.”
The Long Beach City Attorney’s Office was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Woods’ parents filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging excessive force against the two Long Beach Police Department officers, John Fagan and Daniel Martinez, in July of 2014, less than a year after their son was shot on an apartment building rooftop. That shooting was the 20th officer-involved shooting in 2013, and the suit was the family’s second $10 million suit, following the wrongful death and additional excessive force claims filed against the City of Long Beach in April 2014.
Woods, a resident of Rialto, was the passenger in a car stopped for two traffic violations near 3rd and Walnut. After providing LBPD false information as to his identity, Woods fled on foot and led police on a pursuit.
During the pursuit, authorities discovered his real identity, noting that he had a felony arrest warrant for an armed carjacking in Los Angeles. The pursuit eventually ended when Woods, unarmed and atop an apartment building along the 500 block of Nebraska, was shot by police officers. Woods was struck at least 19 times during the shooting, according to his attorney, with at least 14 of those shots hitting him in the back.
The LBPD stated that Woods “took a kneeling position and began to turn towards [officers]. Knowing the significant danger the suspect posed, being an armed robbery suspect in a previous crime, and they believed based on his actions he was armed, the officers discharged their weapons believing the suspect was about to fire at them."
The lawsuit against the city is just one of a number of excessive force lawsuit filed against the city in the past few years, including those filed by the family of Hector Morejon, killed while vandalizing a vacant apartment, and Feras Morad, killed while on mushrooms, last year.
Editor's note: This article originally referred to John Fagan and Daniel Martinez as Woods' parents; Fagan and Martinez are the officers named in Woods' parents' lawsuit. The error has been corrected.