Family settles suit against city over shooting death of 16-year-old son

The parents of a 16-year-old boy shot 19 times by Los Angeles police in Boyle Heights in 2016 reached a $200,000 settlement of a lawsuit in which they alleged their son was killed without provocation, their attorneys confirmed on Tuesday.

Plaintiffs Juan and Josefina Mendez also maintained that no commands were issued to the teen before officers opened fire. They brought their suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in February 2018, a day before the second anniversary of their son Jose's Feb. 6, 2016, death.

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The suit alleged wrongful death, civil rights violations and assault and battery and named the city and two officers, Josue Merida and Jeremy Wagner, as defendants.

The settlement was recently approved by the City Council.

Lawyers for the City Attorney's Office stated in their court papers that the plaintiffs' son was negligent and that some of their claims were brought after the statute of limitations expired.

The teen was driving on Lorena Street about 10:45 p.m. when the officers conducted a "high risk" traffic stop because of the area and time of day and due to the car possibly having been stolen, according to the suit, which alleged the lawmen did not follow LAPD protocol for such a situation, which required they seek backup and order the suspect to leave the vehicle with his hands up. Instead, the officers ran toward the teen's car and shot him in the side of the head, back, chest and legs after he pulled into a driveway on Sixth Street, without issuing any commands to the teen before opening fire, the suit alleged.

The two officers then cut the seat belt the teen was wearing, dragged his body from the car and put him on a sidewalk about 30 feet away, according to the suit, which alleged "the shooting and killing of Jose Mendez was unjustified and this use of force was unwarranted and excessive under the circumstances."

Wagner was involved in other officer-involved shootings in 2010 and 2014 and Merida was involved in the same 2014 incident, according to the lawsuit.

CNS contributed to this report.