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Criminal Justice

Criminal Charges Dropped Against Cudahy Man With Autism Who Was Shot By Deputy

Isaias Cervantes, wearing a red ball cap, stands with his back to the camera, using his thumbs to point over his shoulders to the the back of a blue jersey emblazoned with his full name and the number 95 in black.
Isaias Cervantes was shot by a sheriff's deputy during a scuffle at the Cervantes family home.
(Courtesy Cervantes family )
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Isaias Cervantes, the 25-year-old Cudahy man who was shot and critically injured by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy last year, will no longer face criminal charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

In March of 2021, Cervantes was shot and paralyzed by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy who was responding to an emergency call from the family.

Deputies say Cervantes reached for one of their guns, but body-cam video released by the department doesn’t clearly show that.

More than six months later, the district attorney’s office charged Cervantes with assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

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More than a dozen advocacy groups — including the Autism Society of L.A. — were shocked by the move and sent a letter to DA George Gascón’s office.

“[The letter] really pleaded with him: This is a person with autism who is also deaf and now paralyzed because of the shooting by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department,” said Judy Mark, president of Disability Voices United.

Now that the criminal charges against Cervantes are dropped, the family’s lawyer, Austin Dove, said he plans to move forward with a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department.

“It never should have been a criminal case in the first place,” Dove said. “It was a completely inverted event to try to say that [Cervantes], the one who was actually shot ... and left paralyzed, is actually the one assaulting [the] deputy,” Dove added.

The D.A.’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but confirmed that criminal charges would not be pursued against Cervantes. The Sheriff’s Department issued a statement saying it had not been notified the charges were dropped.

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Robert Garrova is reporting on the intersection of mental health and law enforcement.