PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — A lawyer for the family of an unarmed Inglewood man who was killed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies wants federal law enforcement officials to investigate the fatal shooting.
KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports Jose De La Trinidad was killed on Nov. 10 by sheriff’s deputies during a traffic stop in the Willowbrook area.
A husband and father of two, De La Trinidad, 36, was riding in the passenger seat in his brother’s car when deputies tried to pull him over for a code violation.
Officials say De La Trinidad’s brother failed to stop and led deputies on a short pursuit that ended in Compton.
But when De La Trinidad got out of the car, two deputies opened fire after they say he appeared to reach toward his waistband for a weapon.
No weapon was found. De La Trinidad was pronounced dead at the scene.
Attorney Luis Carrillo said now he believes the Sheriff’s Department was behind an effort to hamper an investigation into the shooting.
“Our investigator has uncovered what we believe is an effort on the part of Sheriff’s investigators to cover up, to engage in witness tampering, to try to change the testimony of the very solid eyewitness who saw [De La Trinidad] had his hands up in the air,” Carrillo said.
In a letter to the FBI, Carrillo stated that “these efforts of Sheriff’s investigators appear to be an obstruction of justice.”
De La Trinidad’s wife, Rosie, said that an old injury that made her husband’s arm hang at an angle may have made it appear to deputies that he was reaching for his waistband.
In the wake of De La Trinidad’s death, Rosie says she’s now struggling to pick up the pieces.
“My 6-year-old, she’s drawing devastating pictures of herself crying, the baby, she’s attached to me, very clingy,” she said. “The worst is yet to come, I have to bury him the day after Thanksgiving.”