SOUTH PASADENA (CBSLA) – Attorneys for the family of a man who was shot and killed two years ago by a Los Angeles police officer in Boyle Heights – the same officer who went on to shoot and kill a teen boy just 12 days later – released body cam footage of the confrontation and shooting Thursday.
On the evening of July 28, 2016, 36-year-old Omar Gonzalez – a husband and father of two — was shot following a police pursuit that ended at Atwood Place and Atwood Street in Boyle Heights. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
The officer who killed Gonzalez, identified as Eden Medina, said in a deposition that Gonzalez was in possession of a gun and he thought he was in danger.
In a news conference Thursday in South Pasadena, attorneys for the Gonzalez family showed body cam footage of the shooting following a court order from a federal judge that the video be released.
Gonzalez family has filed a lawsuit against the LAPD in which they admit that although Gonzalez may have been carrying a gun, attorneys say it was nowhere near him when he was shot twice in the back as he was being held down.
“You didn’t hear any commands given, ‘lay down on the floor, stop,’” attorney Luis Carrillo told reporters Thursday. “They just ran up there and started tackling him themselves.”
The LAPD confirms that, following the Gonzalez shooting, Medina was placed on desk duty for six days before being released back out into the field.
Then, on Aug. 9, 2016, Medina shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero during a foot pursuit in Boyle Heights, at Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Breed Street. In that case, Romero was also in possession of a gun. The gun also went off at some point during the incident.
In May of this year, Romero’s family also released body-cam footage in their own lawsuit against the LAPD.
“I can’t but re-emphasize the fact that one police officer in the span of 12 days kills two young Latinos in Boyle Heights,” Carrillo said.
In depositions for both those lawsuits, Edina alleges that, although he did not see a gun pointed at him, he thought and he felt he was in imminent danger.
“There’s a problem here, where the sergeants, the lieutenants, the captains, don’t remove him from patrol,” Carrillo said. “And after the second killing, that’s when they probably removed him from patrol.”
In Romero’s shooting, the LAPD and the police commission determined the fatal shooting was justified and within department policy because Medina felt threatened.
The trial for the Romero lawsuit is scheduled to begin in December. The trial for the Gonzalez lawsuit is set for next year.
“It’s just what I want, just justice, and we might get that, we might not,” Gonzalez’ widow Zoila Gutierrez told reporters.
An LAPD spokesperson refused to comment on either case citing the pending litigation.