Wrongful death cases arise in various ways in and around Los Angeles. Lately, the United States has been rocked by unrest concerning police violence and racial tensions. There have been numerous instances over the last few years concerning excessive use of force by police leading to death. Recently, the city of nearby Torrance settled with the family of a man who was killed after being shot by police officers 23 times.
In 2017, Michael Lopez, 44, was unarmed when he was shot 23 times by police officers in Torrance. He died on October 14, 2017.
The incident in question happened after the end of two separate vehicle pursuits, when law enforcement officials say that Lopez was accused of revving his engine in an attempt to flee from officers again. Police officers, claiming that they were in his path, opened fire on the vehicle, striking Lopez 23 times. The District Attorney’s Office has said all along with the five officers involved in the shooting acted in self-defense and the defense of others.
However, Victor Reyes, the father of Lopez, filed a wrongful death lawsuit about one year after his son died. This case ultimately did not go to trial, and a settlement resolution was reached on June 8, 2020, when the city of Torrance agreed to pay a $200,000 to Lopez’s father. The attorney who represented Reyes said that “I thought it was excessive, the number of gunshots. It was going to come down to whether a jury believed it was reasonable for these officers to fire and to fire that many times.”
This case is just one facet of the larger focus on police use of force that is taking place around the country right now. In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, there have been protests throughout the US arguing for significant reform of police use of force practices.
The Los Angeles Police Department has long been in the spotlight concerning police use of excessive force, and the current unrest is no different. It is important that anyone who believes they have been mistreated by police, or families who have lost loved ones due to excessive police force, come forward with their cases. Change happens when these incidents are highlighted, and when families receive justice for what happened.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or careless actions of another person, including excessive force by police, seek legal assistance immediately. At JML Law, we are ready to conduct a complete investigation into your case in order to secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This can include coverage of: