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Family files suit against city of Ontario

August 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The family of a man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting outside his apartment has filed suit against the city of Ontario and its police department.Thursday morning, friends and family members of the man Ontario police shot five months ago filed suit against the city. They're asking for $20 million in damages.

"I'm saying that the Ontario Police Department has a two-tier standard with regards to the treatment of the population here in Ontario," said the family's attorney Jaime Segall-Gutierrez. "When it comes to Mexican-American families, they are much more aggressive and much more willing to kill, but when it comes to affluent Anglo families, none of this happens."

The officer-involved shooting happened on March 20 on Sultana Ave. Police say they responded to a call of domestic violence. When they got there, they heard shots coming from the home. They say a woman ran out of the front doorway, then a man followed and appeared at the door. That's when they opened fire, killing him. Moments later, his mother stormed onto the scene.

"Is he dead? Is my son dead? Is my son dead? Can you tell me, is my son dead?" asked the extremely upset woman.

The question is, why did officers open fire? The victim's family says when he came to the door, he did not have a gun.

But in a press release that the police department filed the day after the shooting, they say that the victim yelled at and engaged the offices in a threatening manner, and his actions forced them to open fire.

Aaron Michael Serrano is the brother of the man police shot. He says his brother wasn't threatening at all. He fell through the doorway. He says he knows that because he was holding onto him, trying to bring him outside.

"My brother was unarmed at the moment," said Aaron Serrano. "I actually was there, so anything that the police say is contradictory to actually what happened, and I know because I was actually there. He died in my arms."

The city of Ontario isn't commenting on the charges. The police department is still investigating.

As for friends and family members, they're hoping for their own answers in court.

 

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