Judge: Long Beach officers were justified in shooting man who brandished gun, ran after traffic stop

A judge rejected a claim brought by the parents of a man who was fatally shot by a Long Beach officer after the man ran from police following a traffic stop and brandished a handgun, the city attorney said in a statement released Monday.

Martin Hurtado, 21, was killed on March 10, 2016. His family filed suit in federal court alleging the city and officers were liable for Hurtado’s death because the force used was excessive and unreasonable.

An attorney representing Hurtado’s family, Dale Galipo, was not immediately available for comment.

City Attorney Charles Parkin said in a written statement that the situation is sad, but the result is good for the city of Long Beach.

“Our police officers reacted to a life-threatening situation and the court found they acted reasonably,” Parkin said.

The officers pulled over the car Hurtado was in riding in for having no license plates. Both Hurtado and the driver fled the car on foot.

Police noticed that Hurtado had a gun in his right hand, the city attorney said, and the officers gave multiple commands for him to drop the weapon.

“As the pursuit continued, Hurtado turned toward the officers and raised his weapon,” the statement said. “One officer fired at Hurtado, killing him.”

The court ultimately agreed that the officers were justified in shooting Hurtado to protect the public and themselves.

District Court Judge S. James Otero dismissed the case entirely.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.