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Jury Awards $24M To Paralyzed Boy In LAPD Shooting

December 17, 2012  | 

A jury has awarded $24 million to a boy who was paralyzed in a shooting with a Los Angeles Police Department officer who mistook his airsoft gun for a firearm, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The case stemmed from the December 2010 shooting in the Glassell Park neighborhood patrolled by LAPD's Northeast Division. While looking for gang activity, Officer Victor Abarca and his partner came upon 13-year-old Rohayent Gomez and his two friends shortly after 8 p.m.

Officer Abarca said he ordered Gomez, who was playing cops and robbers, to come out from behind a car. The officer eventually shot Gomez, saying he didn't see the pistol's orange tip that identified it as a toy that fires rubber pellets.

The boy was hit in the chest and left paralyzed.

Last year, Officer Abarca was cleared by the Police Commission.

Tags: Toy Guns, LAPD, Officer-Involved Shootings, Jury Awards


Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

Ima Leprechaun @ 12/17/2012 12:48 PM

Sorry but he had a gun he was ordered to drop. I would have shot him too. At 8 pm in December in Ca its getting pretty dark out, Id never see any colors in the dusk light. This verdict should have been set aside and hopefully will be appealed to a higher smarter court. The jury here screwed up and they know in their heart they too would never let any aged person shoot them. It still looks like a gun and if anyone needs sued it should be the toy maker for not making the gun all orange and a non gun shape.

Hiram Legree @ 12/17/2012 4:49 PM

These airsoft guns are incredibly realistic. Aside from the orange paint which may or may not be worn off or even visible in bad light, these pellet guns can't be differentiated from real guns even at a few feet distance. The real "killer" here are the parents who foolishly let their kids out in public with realistic-looking guns. This accident was totally foreseeable. The jury verdict was wrong and was obviously stemming from sympathy for the kid.

JC @ 12/17/2012 7:40 PM

I am very interested to learn why the jury awarded in favor of the boy with the air soft gun. Do they expect officers to confirm that the gun is real by letting the gangster shoot at them first? It's a tragedy, but what do they expect officers to do when faced with what they reasonably believe to be a lethal threat?

Bill @ 12/17/2012 7:46 PM

Supreme Court take note. Graham v Connor applies. Get ready for this case!

JM @ 12/18/2012 9:40 AM

Ever seen a real gun painted pink? Or if you are a banger, how about painting the tips of real ones orange... Not saying the kid shouldnt receive a FAIR settlement for medical costs and future earnings, but 24 mil??? Another California classic...

S.S @ 12/18/2012 12:27 PM

Good job California, way to stand by your police officers. 24 mil. are you f***en kidding me???!!!

Fed Cop @ 12/19/2012 10:28 AM

S.S California will never stand up for their officers. Nearly all judgements go against the LEO. The juries are all bleeding heart liberals, as are the judges. Why do you think Gov. MoonBeam wants to empty the prisons? First thing he does is release 40,000 prisoners, then cuts funding for police across the state.

Questions @ 12/23/2012 8:39 AM

What were the circumstances that the officer was presented with? Some news articles state that the officers violated their own policies. Did he actually see the gun? The version of events the officers gave were starkly different than eyewitnesses.

fdalpiero @ 12/26/2012 6:15 AM

What we can understand is that decision is with the demands of police work are increasingly forcing professionals to be more educated and prepared technically and tactically. Courses designed to prepare the police and military for their reality as well as the correct use of equipment accessories and materials are now the focus that every professional should seek. Recognizing currently on dynamics of a scene cop a real gun or a lie is something that only the top police and military can achieve. In low light the chances of its success are even smaller. The professional search should be constant and the technical and tactical adjustments required to prevent incidents like this from recurring event.

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