Skip to comments.Long Beach cops liable in 2010 shooting death of Douglas Zerby
Posted on 04/07/2013 9:04:19 AM PDT by redreno
SANTA ANA -- After a day of deliberations, a jury Thursday found Long Beach police officers violated the civil rights of a man who was shot and killed without warning in 2010, awarding his family $6.5 million in damages.
Officers Jeffrey Shurtleff and Victor Ortiz were found liable in the death of Douglas Zerby, 35, who was killed without warning as he sat on the stoop of a friend's apartment playing with a pistol-grip hose nozzle that police mistook for a gun.
In a unanimous verdict in federal civil court, the jury of women and two men found not only that the officers violated Zerby's 4th Amendment Constitutional rights, but that they committed a battery on Zerby and were negligent.
Attorneys for the Zerby family had asked for $21.5 million in damages, and received about a third of that. Zerby's son, River, was awarded $3.5 million, his father, Mark, $2 million, and his mother, Pam Amici, $1 million.
(Excerpt) Read more at presstelegram.com ...
Amici said she planned to attend a Long Beach City Council meeting to talk about the verdict and asked that Shurtleff and Ortiz lose their badges.
Biele said her family is now going to urge that Shurtleff and Ortiz face criminal prosecution.
Galipo supports the family, he said in this case he was not sure the officers' actions rose to the level of homicide.
Notice that the police thugs who gunned him down have so far faced NO consequences for killing him. I especially like the quote that the polic actins didn't rise to the level of homicide. I guess he didn't really die.
Bottom line is if you're murdered by the police you will not get any justice, and the murderers will go free.
I remember this case. No liability for the anti-freedom busybody who told the police that he had a gun?
The person who called this in has some level of culpability.
***family awarded $6.5 million ***
I am reminded of the scene in THE PRINCESS BRIDE where Inigo Montoya confronts the murderer of his father.
Villan: I’ll give you anything! What to you want!
Montoya: I want my father back you son of a bitch!
Can the police give this family back their father/son?
No promotions either?
It must have been a high capacity water hose or looked like a dog.
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I tend to agree with you, however, if a concerned citizen had a reasonable suspicion that someone was brandishing a firearm, in The City of Long Beach, it would be nearly impossible to obtain a judgment against them, for calling the police. I understand that this was a hose nozzle (some of them are shaped like a pistol), but from a distance, someone with imperfect vision could infer it to be a firearm. BTW, I have no use for busybodies who call 911 at the drop of a hat. Thank you.
...Zerby...suddenly brought his hands up into a firing position, aiming directly at Ortiz...
Truly a sad set of facts.
Did Ortiz happen to be wearing plain clothes or was he in uniform when Zerby pointed at him with what everyone agrees appeared to be a firearm?
If the former, was there an appropriate opportunity for the police to announce their presence? If in plain clothes, Ortiz could have been you or me, or someone's teenage son.
If Ortiz was in uniform, what should LEOs do, with or without a warning, when they have good reason to believe they are at immediate risk?
That person should be in prison.
It didn't say. How many dogs do you have to kill and how many innocents do you have to kill to be promoted in the police?
I don’t think there is a formal quota.
I don't know, duck, run, drop to the ground, get behind a car, etc. Anything but automatically kill the poor guy woth a garden hose nozzle. There's too much of this crap happening. Other innocent men watering their front gardens have been shot and killed by cops hiding behind a fence, shooting without warning. The least they can do is to give warning to drop "the weapon" and not kill innocents. Cops are bloodthirsty and reckless these days.
I expect to see a sharp increase in these sorts of incidents within the next few years.
They shot him 12 times and did not even identify themselves.
And the cops who did it will never be prosecuted for murder.
The cops were in full uniform...
IIRC, they were both behind block walls, and never announced their presence or identified themselves.
Zerby couldn’t have possibly pointed the nozzle at the cops if he didn’t even know they were there.
Your proposed ducking, running, dropping to the ground, etc doesn’t apply here, that was not an option for the two officers. In any event, such action is foolish where you and the assailant are both armed and in close quarters. Unless, of course you can move faster than a bullet.
Based on what we know from the article, clearly Zerby was not a “poor guy with a garden hose”. In this instance, the first shooter most certainly was attempting to save the life of a fellow officer. The fact Zerby was intoxicated doesn’t operate as a defense any more than it does for a drunk driver that wipes out a family in a head-on collision.
The flip side of this story is that of a relatively new officer with a wife and two young childen who was shot down because he was indecisive and someone got the drop on him.
There was a recent case in Southern California, where a neighbor reported her neighbor with a gun in his front fenced yard. Officers responded, hiding behind the fence, and shot him dead. He was watering his front yard with a pistol grip type water hose. Those officers gave no warning. I’m just reading too many reports of cops automatically shooting to kill, and asking questions after an innocent person is dead. Part of the risk of being an officer is to use diligence in responding. That diligence extends to determining if a person is indeed a credible threat. Too often, cops are trigger happy and not using common sense. I would hope that if my child had a ballpoint pen, water gun, pop tart eaten in the shape of a gun, or other non-lethal implement that a cop would excercise common sense. I worked with cops a couple decades, the older ones were more diligent than the new ones now.
OK, was watching baseball and also reading the news account.
My original post was intended to only raise questions and possibilities.
If Ortiz was in uniform, it could have been a suicide by cop scenario but let’s not speculate. Pointing a weapon at any uniform whether it is suicide or not is reckless and could have predictable results.
However, it appears the jury found as you suggest, that there was no evidence to conclude Zerby intended to point the “firearm” at any human. I.e., that there was no evidence to support the first shooter’s belief he was about to save another officer’s life.
It would be intesting to be able to review the evidence presented to the jury.