A homeless couple shot by police during a raid in their southern California makeshift home was awarded more than $4 million this week, after a federal judge found the cops used excessive force when they fired.
The two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Christopher Conley and Jennifer Pederson — who were looking for a wanted parolee — opened fire on the couple when they burst into the wood-framed shack without a warrant in Oct. 2010.
Angel Mendez was shot 10 times in the barrage of bullets and his pregnant wife, Jennifer, was hit once.
“If they would’ve announced, ‘Police, open the door’ I would have came out,” Angel Mendez, who lost his leg as a result from the bullet wounds, told NBC Los Angeles.
But the cops squeezed off 15 shots when the homeless man reached for a BB gun rifle. One of the rounds hit Jennifer Mendez, who recovered from the wound without any harm done to her unborn baby.
“They just continued to fire,” Angel Mendez said.
In a video recorded after the shooting, the wounded man pleads with emergency workers to save him.
“Oh, please, just don’t let me die, sir,” Mendez says in the footage, which was obtained by NBC News.
Of course, LAPD officials deemed the shooting 100% justified
“The individual raised a weapon and pointed it at the deputies,” Whitmore told the news station. “They have to do what’s necessary and in this case, they fired.”
But U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald awarded $3.8 million to Angel Mendez and $222,000 to his wife for the damages, which he said resulted from the cops violation of the couple’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Despite losing his leg, these folks are very fortunate, Mr. Mendez could have lost his life and his wife could have easily lost her baby.
Image via KNBC