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Pomona PD faces wrongful death, excessive force claims

November 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Family members filed a wrongful death claim Tuesday against the Pomona Police Department in connection with fatal shooting of 26-year-old Andres Avila. They're also alleging racial profiling and excessive use of force.

Avila was shot and killed by police on Oct. 16 in the 900 block of West Holt Avenue.

"He was a human being, not an animal. Even an animal doesn't deserve this," said Jesus Avila, Andres Avila's brother.

The family said it all started at a family party on the Fourth of July.

"Police entered the residence and chased him for no apparent reason. My brother ran, and that's when he was beat," explained Adriana Avila, Andres Avila's sister.

The family says cell phone video taken that night shows Avila being beaten and Tased by police.

He later filed a written personnel complaint against the officers involved.

Three months later, Avila was killed in an officer-involved shooting.

On the morning of Oct. 16, officers had contacted Avila and his girlfriend, who were both apparently sleeping in a car at a motel parking lot. It is unclear what happened next, but there was an officer-involved shooting, in which Avila was pronounced dead at the scene.

The family says he was unarmed.

"I don't think it's a mere coincidence that a young man who filed personnel complaints winds up two months later getting shot dead by the same police department that he filed the personnel complaints against," Luis Carrillo, the Avila family attorney, said at a press conference Tuesday.

The Pomona Police Department had no comment regarding the allegations of excessive use of force and racial profiling. As for the shooting death on Oct. 16, they referred all questions to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department also had no comment Thursday, but the original press release did state that "the male became uncooperative and violent." The press release did not mention that Avila had a weapon.