LOS ANGELES (CN) — A federal judge indicated Monday she’s likely to advance a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a Los Angeles Police Department officer, saying a jury should determine whether police were justified in killing a Black man who attorneys say was unarmed and posing no threat to anyone.
Police entered a 24 Hour Fitness in Hollywood on the morning of Oct. 29, 2018, after reports of a man causing a disturbance inside the gym.
Once inside, LAPD officers Edward Agdeppa and Perla Rodriguez found Albert Ramon Dorsey standing naked in the locker room and drying himself off.
The facts surrounding the subsequent events that resulted in the fatal police shooting of Dorsey are heavily disputed.
Paulette Smith, Dorsey’s mother, said in her 2019 lawsuit against the city of LA and Agdeppa that officers began assaulting and battering Dorsey immediately after attempting to unjustifiably detain him.
Dorsey was unarmed and posed no threat that would justify Agdeppa firing the bullets that killed Dorsey, according to the lawsuit, which sought funeral and burial expenses and punitive damages determined by a jury.
Responding to the lawsuit, Agdeppa’s attorneys filed for summary judgment, arguing that Smith’s claims were precluded as a matter of law because Dorsey assaulted gym employees and fought with police after refusing their verbal commands to leave the gym.
Dorsey pinned officer Rodriguez to the ground and struck her multiple times, forcing Agdeppa to use “lethal force in an effort to save his partner’s life,” attorneys said in the summary judgment motion.
“While the taking of a life is never preferred, there are circumstances where such drastic measures are necessary to protect the lives of others — this is such a situation,” the motion said.
The LA Police Commission, an appointed civilian oversight panel, determined in September 2019 that the shooting violated LAPD policy. The finding contradicted the assessment of the case by LA Police Chief Michel Moore.
Commissioners said the officers should have deescalated the situation or not have confronted Dorsey on their own to begin with.
Despite the commission’s finding, a July report by LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey determined Agdeppa’s actions were lawful and that the shooting was in self-defense.
Lacey’s report noted Agdeppa suffered a concussion and a laceration to the bridge of his nose and that Rodriguez had swelling on the left side of her face.
Dorsey was found with Rodriguez’s Taser in his left hand and a handcuff on his right wrist, the report said.
In a telephonic hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder heard arguments on whether the facts established so far entitle Agdeppa and the city of LA to judgment as a matter of law. Granting Agdeppa’s motion would strip a jury of its role in determining judgment in the case.
Snyder said she’s inclined to deny summary judgment because the facts presented so far fail to establish a clear justification for Agdeppa’s use
Here’s what you need to know:
As coronavirus cases across the United States climb toward a third peak, the country surpassed a total of eight million total known cases on Thursday afternoon, according to a New York Times database.
Epidemiologists warned of a new, worrisome phase as 17 states are seeing surges unlike anything they experienced earlier in the pandemic. States including Alaska, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin reported more new cases during the seven-day stretch that ended on Wednesday than in any other week since the virus arrived in the country.
Reports of new cases are trending upward in 41 states over the last two weeks, while nine states are holding case numbers roughly steady. No state in the country is seeing a sustained decline.
Many of the 17 states seeing more new cases than ever — located mostly in the Midwest or in the Mountain West — had relatively few cases until recently. But cases are now steadily climbing. Intensive care unit beds in hospitals are few and far between in some rural communities, experts said, raising concerns about crowded facilities.
“What’s happening in the Upper Midwest is just a harbinger of things to come in the rest of the country,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-diseases expert at the University of Minnesota.
New cases per day in the United States
New cases per day in the United States
New cases per day in the U.S.
New cases per day
in the United States
Already, signs of the uptick are appearing beyond the nation’s middle. In the Northeast, where cases have been relatively low since a spring surge, reports of new infections have started ticking upward again. In the South, where infections spiked this summer, the picture varies from state to state, with sustained progress in Florida and Georgia but worrisome trends in Arkansas and Kentucky.
The number of cases alone is not a full measure of the nation’s outbreak — it is difficult to compare the current numbers with earlier points in the U.S. outbreak when testing was less widespread — and deaths from the virus have been relatively flat in recent weeks, with an average of about 700 per day. But “we are headed in the wrong direction,” said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.
“That’s reflected not only in the number of new cases but also in test positivity and the number of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University. “Together, I think these three indicators give a very clear picture that we are seeing increased transmission in communities across the country.”
High levels of infection in colleges and universities, Dr. Osterholm said, are serving as one source of the spread. Transmission also has