Boyle Heights - The parents of a 16-year-old boy shot 19 times by police during a 2016 traffic stop reached a $200,000 settlement of a lawsuit in which they alleged their son was killed without provocation, their attorneys confirmed today.
Jose Méndez was driving on Lorena Street about 10:45 p.m. when the officers conducted a "high risk" traffic stop because of the area and time of day and due to the car possibly having been stolen. Officers opened fire after Méndez pointed a gun at them, according to the L.A. Police Department.
Méndez was one of two teens killed by LAPD in Boyle Heights that year.
The settlement was recently approved by the City Council.
In their lawsuit, Juan and Josefina Mendez maintained that no commands were issued to their son before officers opened fire on Feb. 6, 2016. The suit alleged wrongful death, civil rights violations and assault and battery and named the city and two officers, Josue Merida and Jeremy Wagner, as defendants.
Lawyers for the City Attorney's Office stated in their court papers that the plaintiffs' son was negligent and that some of their claims were brought after the statute of limitations expired. The District Attorney determined that the officers used "lawful force" when they shot and killed Mendez.
According to the suit, the lawmen did not follow LAPD protocol for such a situation, which required they seek backup and order the suspect to leave the vehicle with his hands up. Instead, the officers ran toward the teen's car and shot him in the side of the head, back, chest and legs after he pulled into a driveway on Sixth Street, without issuing any commands to the teen before opening fire, the suit alleged.
Wagner was involved in other officer-involved shootings in 2010 and 2014 and Merida was involved in the same 2014 incident, according to the lawsuit.