Attorney Dan Stormer speaks during a news conference announcing a civil lawsuit against Long Beach by the family of Feras Morad. Photos by Stephanie Rivera.
Attorneys representing the family of Feras Morad, a 20-year-old Woodland Hills resident fatally shot by a Long Beach police officer in May, announced the filing of a wrongful death claim against the city during a news conference outside the Long Beach Police Department Wednesday morning.
The family is seeking $28 million in damages and calling for changes to policies, procedures and practices by the LBPD.
“He is dead today because an obviously poorly-trained police officer killed him in cold blood,” said attorney Dan Stormer. “Had the police waited 30 seconds and chosen to de-escalate this situation, a promising young man would be alive today. He would be a credit to his family, his community and to our society.”
The LBPD declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, but restated that the officer who shot Morad had been reassigned to a non-field position and their investigation into the shooting is ongoing. For updated information on the investigation, the LBPD suggested visiting this link.
On May 27, LBPD Officer Matthew Hernandez—a 12-year veteran with the LBPD with no prior officer-involved shooting incidents—fatally shot Morad, who police said threatened to attack Hernandez in an alley while having a violent reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Family and friends have disputed this account, stating instead that he was walking aimlessly with his hands in the air and in need of immediate medical attention after jumping through a second-story window on the 4600 block of East 15th Street that Friday night.
Previously released 911 and dispatcher calls reveal a neighbor describing Morad as intoxicated and bloody, walking around the alley after falling from a second-story window.
She also described Morad as “kind of irate” and requested the presence of police officers.
“I think he is a little violent… I think we need police too,” the unidentified neighbor said.
In the fire dispatcher’s call to the LBPD, the dispatcher relates the neighbor’s description of Morad as drunk, violent and bleeding heavily. The male police dispatcher then asked if there are any weapons, to which the fire dispatcher replied that there were not.
Stormer called the police officer’s reported use of non-lethal force right before the shooting as “hogwash.”
“He was clearly scared, and rather than acting in an appropriate way he chose to shoot Feras Morad and kill him because he knew his superiors […] would back him up.”
When asked about Feras’ alleged use of drugs the night of his shooting, Stormer said many people do things that are later regretted, but said such actions should not lead to death.
Through tears, Morad’s parents, sister and cousin spoke of a bright young man and nationally ranked debater with hopes of becoming an attorney to fight against injustices.
Though Morad—a 3.9 GPA student at Moorpark College—was accepted to UCLA, UC Irvine and Berkeley, he decided to transfer to Cal State Long Beach where he was offered a full-ride scholarship and be able to save money for law school.
“It was too early for him to go. He did not finish his job here on Earth,” said Feras’ father Amr Morad. “He would have contributed a lot to this nation.”
“Its tearing me apart inside […] just to get him back I would give up everything,” Amr said.
Feras’ mother Amal Alkabra described him as responsible, mature and thoughtful since a young age, caring for his younger sister and throwing a surprise birthday party for her at the age of 9.
In high school Feras worked two jobs to support himself, and also participated in debate and ROTC, she said.
“I keep feeling he is going to come back,” Alkabra said through tears. “There is no way he is gone. It cannot be.”
Above, right: Amr Morad speaks about his son, Feras, during a news conference. Above, left: Amal Alkabra, mother of Feras Morad, speaks during a news conference. Photos by Stephanie Rivera.
Photo of Feras Morad: file photo.
Stephanie Rivera covers immigration and the north, west and central parts of Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.
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