The mother of a man shot to death in a confrontation with deputies in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood in August is suing Los Angeles County, alleging her son’s actions did not justify the use of deadly force and that race may have been a factor.
Gloria Sanchez Gallegos’ Compton Superior Court lawsuit allegations include civil rights violations, assault and battery and negligence. She was the mother of Agustin Flores Sanchez.
Also named as defendants are Deputies Jasen Tapia, Raymond Romero, Timothy Garcia and Julio Chavez Ruiz. The nationalities of the deputies and the decedent are not identified in the suit, which was brought Wednesday and asks for unspecified damages against the county and the deputies, plus punitive damages from the deputies.
The LASD reported previously that the shooting took place about 6:55 a.m. Aug. 31 in the 9200 block of Graham Avenue. Earlier, the man had been threatening employees at a nearby food processing business, which prompted a call to deputies.
Sanchez then allegedly went to his truck and pulled out a machete before getting into a physical altercation with the deputies in which he punched one deputy and kicked another, according to the LASD. He was shot after he charged them with a knife and did not stop after being shot with a stun gun, according to the LASD.
But according to the lawsuit, although Sanchez had a machete, he did not use it in an unlawful way, and he was confronted by nine deputies, including the four defendants.
“Clearly, Sanchez was not expecting such a harsh response when deputies suddenly encircled him with their firearms drawn, immediately shouting commands without any further inquiry,” the suit states.
Sanchez, “scared for his life, retreated to his truck, the suit states.
The deputies approached Sanchez’s driver-side door because the passenger side was blocked by chain-link fencing, the suit states. Sanchez got out of the truck as ordered, at which time he was shot multiple times “with numerous rounds akin to a firing squad” and he later died, the suit states.
The shooting violated the constitutional rights of Sanchez and his mother, the suit alleges.
Sanchez “did not and could not have posed a threat to others” because he was cornered in his truck and had no way of escaping, the suit states.
“Indeed, the small battalion of deputies stood objectively no chance of being in harm’s way by Sanchez, whether or not he had a machete,” the suit
The suit further maintains that the deputies allegedly involved were not properly trained or supervised. In addition, communities with darker-skinned populations account for a disproportionate number of fatal shootings of civilians by police when compared to areas with different demographics, the suit states.
“For the same reasons, darker skinned individuals often cannot safely go about using items like a machete for work or even safely roaming their neighborhoods without being perceived as violent criminals, as Sanchez was in both regards,” the suit states.
Source: NBC Los Angeles