Family of man fatally shot by LAPD officers files wrongful death lawsuit against city

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Family of man fatally shot by LAPD officers now suing city
Margarito Lopez was killed in December 2021 in South Los Angeles at the hands of police. His family claims he was going through a mental health crisis and believe he should still be alive.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A South Los Angeles family said they have taken legal action against the city of L.A., saying officers shot and killed their loved one when they should've helped him during a mental health crisis.

The family of Margarito Lopez said they are suing the city for wrongful death and violation of civil rights.

They made the announcement on Tuesday alongside their attorneys Luis and Michael Carrillo and Dale Galipo.

"The only thing I want is justice for my brother for what they did," said Margarito Lopez's sister, Sonia Lopez.

The incident happened in December 2021 and the moments leading up to Margarito Lopez's death at the hands of LAPD officers are difficult to watch.

His family said he was suffering a mental health crisis and should still be alive.

During a 911 call that was heard in a video released by LAPD, Margarito Lopez's sister is heard saying she thinks her brother is suicidal.

"Yes, hello, yes. I'm calling ... I think my brother is going to commit suicide because he was locked in the restroom, but he just walked out of the house, but he has a knife," the sister is heard saying.

Body camera video showed Margarito Lopez holding a butcher knife to his throat. Police told him several times to put the knife down.

According to LAPD, officers tried to use less-than-lethal force.

In the video, at least one officer was heard shouting, "Bean bag only! Bean bag only!" but a standoff continued.

Margarito Lopez then took few slow steps, turned to the side and officers opened fire, killing the 22-year-old.

"Instead of bringing a mental evaluation unit, which they didn't, they resorted to deadly force when they should not have used deadly force," Carrillo said.

With heartache in his voice, the victim's dad, Margarito Lopez Sr., remembered his son as a young man who was still a boy.

The father said his son was happy and friendly with everyone.

Meanwhile, in a video recorded by nearby neighbors, the shooting and shock from many in this community was heard.

Margarito Lopez's family said the police response traumatized many living in the area.

"Instead of helping him, they just killed him and right now, everybody is just afraid to call the police for help," Sonia Lopez said.

Eyewitness News reached out to LAPD for comment, but has not received a response as of Tuesday night.