Family Sues, Seeks Justice for Man Shot in Back and Killed by Culver City Police

pc: flickr.com

By Alyssa Eng

CULVER CITY, CA – A federal wrongful death lawsuit filed this week by the family of Guillermo Medina alleges Culver City police officers shot an unarmed, mentally ill man in the back and failed to provide him with timely medical care that may have prevented his death.

“The family of Guillermo Medina is devastated by this loss. Once again, a cry for help results in a death sentence,” said civil rights attorney V. James DeSimone, who is representing Medina’s family.

According to the lawsuit complaint, police received a call around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2022, reporting that Medina, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was having a mental health breakdown and behaving erratically.

Medina’s family members told police “he was not going to hurt anybody” and begged them to use restraint, noted the federal filing.

Medina managed to drive away, eventually, said the lawsuit, then exited his vehicle and fled.

In an incident captured on security camera footage, Medina can be seen fleeing from officers into an empty parking lot. After being shot by police he falls forward on his face, then rolls onto his back, with his arms outstretched.

Officers waited for nearly a full minute before approaching Medina, said the lawsuit, noting police finally moved to handcuff the already injured man without providing medical care.

DeSimone maintains Medina was unarmed and posed no immediate threat to officers or others and no weapon was ever displayed or shown during the incident, nor was one found on his person.

According to the lawsuit, the officers’ over-response and neglect violated both state and federal laws, department policies and procedures dictating use-of-force and Police Officer Standard Training mandates, and alleges officers engaged in assault and battery and are liable for all wrongful death and survival claims.

DeSimone said the video of the shooting—featuring an officer in camouflage army fatigues with a bulletproof vest and what appears to be a semi-automatic rifle—illustrates the scale of the police overreaction.

“When police departments train their officers to believe they’re fighting a war, tragedies like this are going to occur,” DeSimone said. “It tarnishes the Culver City Police Department, it tarnishes Culver City, and it impedes every good officer’s ability to do what they’ve been hired to do—protect the public.”

Medina’s family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the city and police department over the wrongful death.  And, the Medina family requests the Department of Justice criminally prosecute these officers.

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