The mother of Jamar Nicholson, a 15-year-old boy who was shot and wounded by an LAPD officer, has filed a lawsuit against the city alleging that the police officer used excessive and unnecessary force. Last February, officers opened fire on a group of teenagers in an alley after claiming that they saw someone pointing a gun at another person. The ‘gun’ ended up being a toy replica with the trademark orange-colored tip on the barrel. It has been confirmed that the wounded teenager was not the one holding the toy gun. The lawsuit alleges that the police officer’s decision to open fire was based on the teenager’s race, and that medical care had been denied to Nicholson even though he had suffered a serious gunshot wound to his back. Nicholson and three friends had been rapping and dancing in the alley before school, when a group of undercover police officers appeared and ordered them to drop the toy weapon. One of the officers, Miguel Gutierrez, then opened fire, despite the fact that the teenagers did not act in any way that would pose a threat to the officers, striking and wounding Nicholson in the upper back. He was then handcuffed, and forced to sit on the curb without medical attention. When he was finally transported to the hospital, they handcuffed him to his hospital bed, and refused to allow him to call his mother. He was also interrogated as a criminal suspect.
A $20 million claim has been filed against the city of Los Angeles on behalf of Nicholson’s family. Nicholson has described the event as ‘traumatizing,’ saying that he has nightmares from the incident. “I see a cop and I get nervous,” he stated. “I’ve never really looked at police in a certain way, until that day.” A department spokesperson with the LAPD, Andrew Smith, said the department was conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident, and that Gutierrez has since returned to his duties full time, but has declined to comment on the case or statements made by Nicholson and his friends. “We’re going to allow the investigation to be completed before we make any comments on that,” he said.
If you or a loved one have suffered wrongful personal injury and negligence due to excessive force by police officers, the law firm of Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.