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Aug 2009
Reflections on a tragic day in 2005

On Monday, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu dismissed a lawsuit filed by the mother of a toddler accidentally killed during a 2005 SWAT standoff with the child’s father. While no one disputes that the situation was a horrible tragedy, the ruling was a clear and decisive legal victory for the LAPD, the SWAT team and the residents of Los Angeles. Judge Treu ruled that police officers have the discretion to use deadly force and that based on the evidence, a jury could reach only one conclusion: that the officers acted reasonably.

The SWAT officers who arrived on the scene in 2005 found a gun-toting madman using his daughter as a shield while indiscriminately spraying bullets in the neighborhood and at the officers who had already responded to the location. Faced with what many have characterized as an impossible situation, the officers used their training and expertise in an attempt to save not only the life of the child, but also the mother, the stepdaughter and countless citizens in the area. They should be commended for their courage and valor, and we should all be reminded that the person solely responsible for the tragedy of that day was the child’s father.

The LAPPL extends heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Office of the City Attorney, specifically lead Deputy City Attorney Christian Bojorquez and the team from the Police Litigation Unit, along with the LAPD civil investigator, Officer Pete Whipple and the Civil Investigation Unit, for their diligence and dedication in defending the SWAT officers involved in this tragic case. By standing strong and refusing to settle the wrongful death lawsuit, the legal team has validated that officers did their absolute best in a volatile and desperate situation, and that the child’s death was a consequence of the incomprehensible and irrational actions of her father.

(In May of this year, officers at the scene that day were awarded the Department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor. Click here to read the story).



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