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Wheelchair Bound Man Killed In Huntington Park Police Shooting

Huntington Park Police Officers Shot and Killed Wheelchair Bound Man Holding Knife In Huntington Park 

HUNTINGTON PARK, CALIFORNIA (January 28, 2023) – A man in a wheelchair allegedly holding a knife was shot and killed by police officers in Huntington Park near Slauson Avenue. 

Huntington Park officials are saying that the incident began around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday. Officers came across a man who had recently been stabbed. 

That person told officers the person who stabbed him was in a wheelchair. Officers were able to locate wheelchair bound suspect who allegedly brought out a 12-inch butcher knife.

Police attempted to use a stun gun to subdue the man. However, officers opened fire after the suspect allegedly threw his knife. 

The man in the wheelchair sustained a gunshot wound to his torso and was later pronounced dead at the scene. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time. 

Liability For Huntington Park Police Shootings

Far too many people are shot and killed every year following encounters with police officers. According to one analysis by Statista, “Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 1,060 civilians having been shot, 220 of whom were Black, as of December 20, 2022. In 2021, there were 1,055 fatal police shootings, and in 2020 there were 1,020 fatal shootings.” People who are suffering an untreated mental illness were 16 times more likely to be killed during police encounters when compared to the general public. There are a number of steps that police departments can take to help reduce fatal encounters. 

  • Officers should be trained to deal with suspects undergoing a mental health crisis.
  • Police departments should give commands to suspects as clearly and calmly as possible. 
  • Police departments should be transparent about fatal encounters. 

Depending on the specific facts of any case, a police department in California could be liable if their officers kill a suspect. According to California Penal Code 835a. (1), the authority to use physical force by police officers is a serious responsibility and shall be used judiciously with respect to human dignity and sanctity of human life. All people in California have the right to be free of excessive force that is carried out under the color of law. In general, police officers may only use lethal force when that force is necessary to defend human life. 

Police officers must always use the least amount of force possible when attempting to get suspects to comply with their demands. There are protocols and procedures in place that outline what officers must do if they encounter mentally unstable suspects. See, for example,  Tabares v. City of Huntington Beach (9th Cir., Feb. 17, 2021, No. 19-56035) 2021 WL 609854. In that case, an officer failed to follow police protocol for dealing with mentally ill suspects before a man was fatally shot. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any police encounter. 

  • Body camera footage from all officers involved should be examined. 
  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed. 
  • The officer’s conduct leading up to the shooting should be understood. 
  • A thorough investigation should be conducted. 

An officer’s decisions leading up to a shooting can render their use of force unreasonable, even if it may have appeared reasonable in the moment. The family of any person that died in a police shooting may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover the loss of that person’s love and companionship. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating A Huntington Park Police Shooting

We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our  deepest condolences to the family of the man that died in this police shooting. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Why did police officers shoot and kill someone with extremely limited mobility? Have officers had previous encounters with this person? Did all officers involved follow all required protocol?

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed due to the negligent actions of the Huntington Park Police Department? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that victims of police abuse are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.

Author

MICHAEL S. CARRILLO, Partner

Michael works on high-profile cases that have garnered national media attention. His practice today focuses on child sexual abuse cases, police misconduct cases, catastrophic injuries and other wrongful death matters. He is a passionate advocate for his clients including the countless child sexual abuse victims he currently represents.