The families of two men killed in separate officer-involved shootings in Salinas, California, are suing the city for wrongful death.
The most recent lawsuit was filed by the family of Carlos Mejia, who was shot and killed by officers after they say he threatened them with garden shears. Mejia, an El Salvadoran immigrant who worked as a gardener and day laborer, was not carrying a firearm.
According to The Monterrey County Weekly, police say they received a 9-1-1 call from witnesses who said Mejia had broken into a woman's home, threatened to kill her, exposed himself and tried to strangle her small dog. The Mejia family's attorney says that report is false, arguing that the man was just defending himself against a vicious animal. Smartphone video shows the shooting, which happened at a busy Salinas intersection.
"This was an unjust thing," Mejias' brother said at a recent press conference, as reported by the Monterey Herald. "I don't want to be here, but I want to represent my brother."
The well-known civil rights attorney John Burris is representing Mejia's family. Burris says a disturbing pattern is emerging in Salinas, with three officer-involved shootings of Latinos so far this year. In addition to the civil suit, he is calling for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into possible civil rights violations.
Earlier, officers shot and killed Osman Hernandez, who was accused of chasing people with a knife. Hernandez's family has also filed a wrongful death suit.
If you have lost a family member due to excessive force by police officers, it may be within your legal rights to file a civil lawsuit and seek damages on behalf of your loved one. Contact the Kansas City attorneys at Meyers Law Firm for an initial consultation.