Two Los Angeles cops have won a $4 million settlement with the city after arguing that they were discriminated against after they fatally shot an unarmed autistic man in the face.
That's four times what the victim's mother got in her own 2012 settlement: $950,000.
The shooting took place in L.A.'s Koreatown neighborhood in 2010. Long story short: the shooting was found justified by the police department, but the city's civilian review board found that the officers violated the department's use-of-force policy, and that the shooting was unreasonable.
The officers returned to work, this time with desk jobs. Two years later, the officers filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging they had been discriminated and retaliated against after the shooting. They settled that case on Friday: $2 million for one officer and $1.9 million for the other.
Confused? Here is the logic.
The officers alleged they faced an internal backlash in the department, since they were both Latino and the slain man was black. Requests to return to the field were denied, and the duo was repeatedly passed over for promotions and transfers, they argued.
"I do not have confidence in their ability to perform the duties of a field officer," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said during the trial. "I have no immediate intention of returning them to the field."
He added that they "made serious tactical errors" during the fatal encounter, but he adamantly argued that the shooting was justified.
Gregory Smith, the officers' attorney, offered this astounding reasoning as an example of how his clients were discriminated against: a white LAPD officer who shot an unarmed Latino man was able to return to work after only a six week probation period.
The victim's attorney told the Los Angeles Times the 2010 shooting “was one of the worst shootings we have seen…They took the life of an unarmed, autistic man for no reason whatsoever."
As for the recent payout that gave officers four times the amount as his client, Dunn said he was taken aback, and that “there is nothing at all justified about this shooting.”
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.