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Lawyers say the police killed an unarmed man who did not speak English. His family filed a claim for damages

2019-08-29T23:04:21.295Z

Li Xi Wang, 49, was killed on July 3 when police officers served a search warrant.



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(CNN) - The family of an unarmed man killed in a shooting involving an officer in Chino, California, has filed a claim for damages against the police department, the family said.

Li Xi Wang, 49, was killed on July 3 when police officers were enforcing a search warrant in a house in connection with an investigation of an illegal drug cultivation and trafficking operation, said the Chinese police chief Wes Simmons, in a video statement posted on the department's YouTube channel, which included images of the body's shooting camera.

Police say they confiscated almost 1,500 marijuana plants, $ 35,000 in cash and found evidence of theft greater than $ 105,000, Simmons said. Police said no weapons were found in the house.

But a lawyer from Wang's family condemned the shooting and said the police department's story was a "one-sided story."

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Wang did not speak English, according to his family's lawyers. In the claim of damages of the family, they allege that the police never established "any form of effective communication" with anyone in the house.

He emigrated to the United States in 2005 and worked to support his family in a restaurant and as a contractor.

"He is a single father, he helps his son, he has an elderly mother in China and he did everything he could as a father, as a son, to take care of the family," lawyer Daniel Deng told a news conference on Wednesday.

When marijuana was legalized, Deng said, Wang looked for work and was finally hired to grow marijuana.

Li Xi Wang, 49, was killed on July 3.

“He is not a drug dealer, he is not a smuggler. He is just a simple worker who tries to make a living taking care of marijuana, ”said Deng.

The experience was incredibly difficult for Wang's family, said Deng, who had to decide to withdraw Wang from life support a week after the shooting.

Asked about what part of the crop was illegal, Sgt. Nancy Franklin, of the Chinese Police Department, referred CNN to the state health and safety code regarding marijuana laws. Under California law, it is illegal to own and grow more than six live cannabis plants.

Wang was hiding behind a door, the video shows.

In the police department video, Chief Simmons said the shooting is the subject of three separate and independent investigations by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the district attorney's office and the Chinese Police Department, which He is conducting an internal review to see if the shooting followed the department's policies.

The footage of the body chamber, which was edited in brief segments by the police, begins with several agents of the special department team standing outside the door of a house, preparing to serve a search warrant. Not all unedited body camera material has been published.

Franklin, of the Department's Professional Standards Unit, explained in the video that "these orders are considered high risk because drug traffic suspects are often armed and dangerous."

The camera images of the body show the agents knocking on the door and announcing themselves three times before breaking into place.

A woman inside is immediately taken out and asked if there is anyone else inside the house. She repeatedly shakes her head, indicating that there is no one else inside, but it is not clear in the video if she understands English. She was handcuffed and arrested for marijuana and robbery.

The images show the agents moving methodically throughout the house to find additional suspects.

Shortly after, the agent using the body's camera sees a man hiding behind the main door that leads out. The agent immediately tells the man to show his hands, saying, "Let me see your hands, friend," but a shot sounds immediately when he raises his gun. Then, the video is edited so that no conversation or interaction between agents is seen or heard immediately after the shooting.

Agents asked for help and provided help at the scene, Franklin said, but Wang later died at a local hospital.

Simmons said in the video that immediately after the shooting, the department contacted Wang's family to offer his condolences.

“It is tragic for all parties when there is a shooting involving an officer, for those involved and their families, for the agent and for our police department,” said Simmons. The department is fully cooperating with the other investigating parties, Simmons said.

The agent was initially placed on administrative leave, according to a city press release. It is not clear if he has returned to service.

Family lawyer: nobody present at the residence spoke English

In a claim for damages against the department, Wang's family said the possible causes of action include death through negligence, negligence and violations of federal and state civil rights, among many others.

The claim was sent to the city on Tuesday. It is the initial step for a lawsuit, which can be filed by Wang's family if the city rejects the claim. Lawyer Brian Dunn, of the Cochran firm, said claims are traditionally denied in cases like this and that the next step would be to file a federal lawsuit alleging that Wang's civil rights were violated, as well as a state lawsuit alleging wrongful death.

According to Wang's family, neither he nor the woman spoke English, and the complaint cited "a clearly obvious language barrier" between the officers and the woman.

The claim, which seeks damages for more than $ 10,000, says that Wang "was not armed with any type of weapon and did not represent a reasonable or credible threat of violence to any person."

“When he was shot dead, Mr. Wang was standing passively, holding nothing in his hands and making no physical movement that indicated to a reasonable agent that Mr. Wang had the will, or the ability, to physically hurt person ”, affirms the claim.

The cash found in the house was to save Wang's life, along with the woman, who was Wang's friend, lawyers said.

"The police are trained in that lethal force is supposed to be the last resort, it is supposed to be used only when other means of control do not work," Dunn said, adding: "As is evident in the video, none of those circumstances existed. ”

California

Source: cnnespanol

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