Culver City police shot, killed unarmed man having mental health crisis, lawsuit alleges

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Family of man fatally shot by Culver City police files lawsuit
The family of a man who was shot and killed by Culver City police filed a lawsuit alleging officers failed to provide timely medical care that may have prevented the death.

CULVER CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a man who was shot and killed by Culver City Police Department officers last year filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging officers failed to provide timely medical care that may have prevented the death.

Adriana Medina filed her civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit for the fatal shooting of Guillermo Medina.

Police received a call around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 18, reporting that Guillermo Medina, who suffered from schizophrenia, was having a mental health breakdown and was acting erratically, the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, states.

Culver City police say officers responded to a domestic violence incident where the "husband/suspect was threatening the wife/victim with a handgun."

Medina fled in his vehicle once officers arrived and led them on a chase, according to a press release from Culver City police.

Police say Medina crashed into a center median in the area of Culver Boulevard and Cardiff Avenue and then ran.

According to attorney V. James DeSimone, security camera footage shows Medina running from officers into an empty parking lot.

After being shot in the back by police, he falls forward on his face, then rolls onto his back, with his arms outstretched, said DeSimone, who represents Medina's wife Adriana and their three children in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs allege that while it was clear the injured Medina could not possibly cause harm - noting that no weapon was found at the scene - officers stood by for nearly a full minute without rendering medical aid, wasting critical time that could have made the difference between life and death. Then the officers roughly handcuffed the mortally wounded and obviously incapacitated Medina without providing medical care, the suit contends.

DeSimone said no threats involving a handgun were made and there were no reports about domestic violence, contrary to what police said.

Medina was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and hadn't taken his medication in a couple of weeks when he showed up at his home and pounded on the windows, his wife said at a news conference.

Adriana Medina told police she did not believe her husband was going to hurt anyone, according to the lawsuit.

She said her husband was a good father who cooked for their children and coached them in youth soccer.

"The sudden loss of my husband has completely devastated my family and turned our life upside down," she said. "I can't believe he was taken away from us when what he really needed was help."

The lawsuit claims the officers' use of force against Medina was excessive, unreasonable and unconstitutional, and further alleges police engaged in assault and battery and are liable for wrongful death claims.

"They knew or should have known that Mr. Medina did not present a threat to their safety or the safety of others," DeSimone said in a statement. "Culver City and its police department appears to maintain unconstitutional practices that not only tolerate, but encourage, the use of excessive force."

Medina's family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the city and police department.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.