On June 21, 2018, a Federal Judge rejected a claim by the parents of a man shot and killed by a Long Beach Police Officer, and entered judgment in favor of the City and its officer.
“This is a good result for the City in this very sad incident,” said City Attorney Charles Parkin. “Our police officers reacted to a life threatening situation and the Court found they acted reasonably,” Mr. Parkin said.
On the evening of March 10, 2016, patrol officers noticed a car driving without license plates. Believing the car might have been stolen, the officers pulled the car over. Before the officers contacted anyone in the car, the driver, and the passenger, Martin Hurtado, ran from the car. One officer pursued on foot and another pursued in a police vehicle. As the officers pursued the fleeing suspects, both officers observed that Hurtado had a gun in his right hand. The police officers gave multiple commands for Hurtado to stop and drop the weapon. As the pursuit continued, Hurtado turned toward the officers and raised his weapon. One officer fired at Hurtado, killing him.
Hurtado’s family filed this federal case alleging that the City and officers were liable for Hurtado’s death because the force used was excessive and unreasonable. The City Attorney’s office filed a pre-trial, summary judgment motion, asking the Court to enter judgment in its favor. The City argued that the force used was reasonable and necessary for the protection of the officers and citizens in the area, and that the City’s officer had no other option but to shoot.
The Court agreed. After extensive briefing from both parties, District Court Judge S. James Otero dismissed the case entirely, holding that the force used was reasonable in light of the circumstances facing the police.
Deputy City Attorneys Howard Russell and Nick Masero handled the case for the City and the police officer. Attorney Dale Galipo represented the plaintiffs.