Chief of Police responds to jury’s award in drive-by shooting/attempt murder case NR12443as

September 22, 2012

Los Angeles:  On September 21, 2012, a jury in Los Angeles awarded a verdict of $5,725,000, to
Mr. Robert Contreras for injuries he received after being shot by a Los Angeles Police Officer.  
On September 3, 2005, Mr. Contreras ran from a vehicle that he and his companions used to commit a drive-by shooting in south Los Angeles.  Mr. Contreras was captured after being shot by officers.  He pled guilty and was convicted of attempted murder in the case.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Force Investigation Division responded to the scene of the shooting and conducted a thorough investigation.  Upon conclusion of the investigation the Los Angeles Police Department and the Board of Police Commissioners reviewed the shooting and the officers’ actions.  The shooting was determined to be “in policy” and the officers’ actions were found to be reasonable under the circumstances.

“I am very disappointed by the jury’s award in this case,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck.  “Tragically for the people of Los Angeles, important facts were not allowed into evidence in this case.  Had the jury been permitted to hear all the facts, I am sure the outcome would have been quite different.  I urge the City Attorney’s Office to pursue an appeal in this case.”

During the trial, the jury was not allowed to hear key evidence.  That evidence included the following facts:

Plaintiff was a known gang member
Plaintiff pled no contest to attempted murder for his involvement in the drive-by shooting that occurred just prior to him being shot by police
The cell mate’s statement that he heard Plaintiff admit he had a gun and threw it
The statement of another individual, arrested with the Plaintiff who stated all of the occupants in the drive-by van had guns
Expert testimony on police tactics and psychological responses that would have demonstrated the reasonableness of the officers’ actions

The Los Angeles Police Department stands by the actions of our police officers in this case.