LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles police are saying very little about what an attorney says happened on the night of June 6 when 20-year-old Eric Rivera was killed.
The LAPD says the officers were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun when Rivera caught their attention while he was walking down Wilmington Boulevard. Arnoldo Casillas, attorney for the Rivera family, says shots were fired and Rivera was run over by their patrol car.
The LAPD has yet to confirm Casillas’ claim.
“They were yelling to get down on the ground,” a neighbor said.
Eric’s father asked how could he get on the ground when the patrol car was barreling down on him?
Casillas says he has gone over the little evidence that is known, interviewed an eyewitness and has put together a computer animation of what he believes happened that night.
“Eric was walking along the sidewalk. It was evening time, the police officers approach on his left side and shouts out to him. He turns to them and tells them ‘leave me alone’”, Casillas said. “And that both of the officers get out, as the car is still moving they begin to shoot and there’s no explanation for it. He ends up underneath the car in a horribly mangled way. In fact, they have to actually hire a crane to pick the patrol car up off of Eric’s body. The only reason his body ended up under the car was because they didn’t put it in park.”
The next day, police said, a toy gun was found near Rivera’s body but did not provide a description or explain how it got there.
Casillas showed CBSLA a freeze frame from news coverage that he believes shows the toy gun.
“This gun was fluorescent green. It doesn’t look like a gun; it looks like Buzz Lightyear’s ray gun. It’s absolutely impossible to believe that any reasonably trained officer would confuse that water pistol from a real gun, and if that’s their claim, they should be ashamed.”
The LAPD has not responded or provided a statement regarding the case but the did say cameras, most likely dash cameras, were used.
“I feel they committed a criminal act, and they need to be prosecuted,” Rivera’s father said.
Eric’s father says sometimes he can’t believe his son is gone.
“I’m going to miss him a lot. Just going to miss him so much.”
The family is expected to file a lawsuit on Wednesday and offer new information at a press conference.