Family of 17-year-old shot
by California officers files suit

(ESCONDIDO, Calif.) -- The family of a 17-year-old boy who was shot by police March 11 has filed three claims against the city, accusing officers of using unjustified and excessive force. The boy was wounded in the chest and foot. Police said he had threatened them with a BB gun that looked like an automatic handgun.

The boy is still recovering from his wounds and is in "generally satisfactory health," said Carl Lewis, a San Diego attorney representing the family.

City officials dismissed the family's claims, saying they were filed too late. Claims are required before suing a public agency and must be filed within six months of the incident in question, according to state law. These claims were received Nov. 6, nearly eight months after the shooting.

One claim was filed on behalf of the boy, Lewis said. The other two were on behalf of his mother and sister, who saw the shooting.

Lewis said he plans to file applications to present late claims. If the City Council rejects the claims, the family has the option of filing a lawsuit.

Officials in the City Attorney's Office and Police Department declined to discuss the claims.

They said the boy had called 911 for unspecified assistance and was told to wait outside for police. Using a cordless telephone, he continued speaking with the 911 operator while he walked out the front door of his home on Lee Avenue.

The boy was then "instantly and without warning gunned down by city of Escondido police officers without cause or justification," one of the claims says.

Police said the boy was waving a loaded BB gun that was designed to resemble a .45-caliber automatic pistol. They also said he had warned the dispatcher that he had a loaded handgun.

The boy was under the influence of methamphetamine when he was shot, according to a toxicology report.

The boy's family claims that the officers' conduct was unjustified and constituted excessive force, and that the officers' actions were motivated by racial discrimination and racial profiling. The family is Latino.

Family of teen shot by police files claims; Escondido officials say they came after deadline
Jonathan Heller; STAFF WRITER
November 29, 2000, Wednesday
Copyright 2000 The San Diego Union-Tribune
The San Diego Union-Tribune
November 29, 2000, Wednesday
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