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LAPD ordered to pay $5.7M to felon shot, paralyzed by cops

September 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Los Angeles has been ordered to pay $5.7 million to a convicted felon who was shot by police and left paralyzed.

But according to the Los Angeles Times, that amount is far less than the city had been told to expect. The amount could reach $6.5 million if the city is ordered to pay attorney's fees. The mayor and City Council rejected an offer in April to settle for $4.5 million.

Robert Contreras was shot several times by police as he fled the scene of a drive-by shooting in 2005. The incident left Contreras paralyzed in both legs and he only has partial use of his arms.

He allegedly turned toward police with what they thought was a gun, but it turned out to be a cellphone.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck released a statement regarding the case on Saturday, saying he was "disappointed by the jury's award in the case."

"Tragically for the people of Los Angeles, important facts were not allowed into evidence in this case. Had the jury been permitted to hear all the facts, I am sure the outcome would have been quite different. I urge the City Attorney's Office to pursue an appeal in this case," Beck said in the statement.

The statement included the following list of items the jury was not allowed to hear during the trial:

  • Plaintiff was a known gang member
  • Plaintiff pled no contest to attempted murder for his involvement in the drive-by shooting that occurred just prior to him being shot by police
  • The statement of another individual, arrested with the Plaintiff who stated all of the occupants in the drive-by van had guns
  • Expert testimony on police tactics and psychological responses that would have demonstrated the reasonableness of the officers' actions

The statement emphasized that the officer-involved shooting involving Contreras was deemed "in policy" after an investigation by the LAPD and the Board of Police Commissioners, and that the LAPD stands by the actions of the police officers involved in this case.

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