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Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Personal Injury / California Highway Patrol Pays $7M in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Fatal Shooting

California Highway Patrol Pays $7M in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Fatal Shooting


California Highway Patrol has agreed to pay a family $7 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of an Oakland resident who was shot and killed by police in 2020. According to the lawsuit, the decedent was shot 18 times on June 6, 2020. The officers believed that the victim was driving a stolen car at the time of the shooting. His pregnant girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat, was also injured in the shooting. The decedent was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Police claimed that the victim had attempted to ram their patrol cars with his own vehicle. Attorneys for the decedent claimed he did no such thing.

At this point, no criminal charges have been filed against the officers related to this shooting. A 34-page report of the incident leaves open the possibility that criminal charges may be filed if more witnesses come forward.

Lawsuits filed against police officers in California

When filing a lawsuit against a government official, the state enjoys a shield that renders it immune to several different types of personal injury lawsuits. In many cases, plaintiffs are barred from bringing a cause of action against a police officer. The plaintiffs in these cases must do more than prove that the officer was negligent. They must be able to establish that the officer violated some form of department policy or was acting outside of the scope of their law enforcement activities.

In the case mentioned above, the officers were faulted for shooting into a vehicle. According to the attorney representing the plaintiffs, one officer emptied a 30-round clip into the vehicle from an AR-15-style rifle. Carrying a 30-round clip goes against CHP policy. So it could be argued that the officer was not following department policy when he shot and killed the decedent.

One of the officers involved in the shooting had previously shot and killed another in 2016. He was alleged to have shot and killed an unarmed man who was fleeing in a truck in the city of Fullerton. He later claimed that he fired inside of the truck to stop it from striking another officer. The officer was cleared of wrongdoing in that shooting as well.

Regardless of whether or not the officers are held criminally liable, individuals who are harmed by officers can file personal injury lawsuits against them and the departments that they work for. In these cases, the plaintiffs must allege that the defendant officer did something that was outside the scope of their duty to win their personal injury lawsuit against the state. In this case, CHP agreed to settle the case for $7 million to avoid the matter going before a jury. An award that high shows that CHP was likely to lose the case and wanted to settle the matter outside of court.

Talk to an Oakland, CA Personal Injury Lawyer Today

The Oakland, CA personal injury lawyers at Venardi Zurada represent the interests of individuals who have been injured due to negligence. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin discussing your case right away.



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