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Criminal Justice

The Mother Of A Willowbrook Man Killed By LA Sheriff's Deputies Is Suing The Agency

A still from LA County Sheriff's deputy body camera shows a man wearing a white shirt and dark pants holding a gun in his right hand.  He is kneeling on a metal shed surrounded by tires and other debris in a Willowbrook backyard.
A screenshot from a deputy's body camera video released Friday, Oct. 30 by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.
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The mother of a 25-year-old-man who was shot in the back and killed by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies just over a year ago is suing the county for assault and battery, negligence, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.

The shooting occurred on October 16, 2020 in the backyard of a Willowbrook home where a deputy had chased Fred Williams III from Mona Park.

Authorities say Williams, who had a gun in his hand, was running away and climbing over a fence when deputy Adrian Ines shot him eight times. The coroner determined Williams died from one bullet to the back

Audio from Ines' body camera captured this exchange:
INES: 22255. "Suspect kept running, he jumped off property. Pointed 417 (Gun) at me."
RAADIO: "20 (copy) 417 (gun) What's the street?"
INES: "…. 122nd."

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417 is the Sheriff's code for a gun.

Carl Douglas, a lawyer who represents Williams' mother, Kenyata Lott, argues Williams never created an imminent threat of death.

"Even if Mr. Williams had a weapon, he was trying to jump over a fence when he was shot in the back, and there's no kind of expert to me that will counter common sense," Douglas says.

The Sheriff's Department issued the statement calling Williams' death tragic but said it cannot comment on a pending lawsuit:

"Any loss of life is tragic and our hearts go out to the family of Mr. Williams III. We are unable to comment on pending litigation, although this critical incident video and other documentation can be found on our transparency page at LASD.org, under Deputy Involved Shootings - 2020. This case has been submitted to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Justice System Integrity Division, who will decide if this incident was a lawful action."
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NBC4 reports that Lott, Williams's mother, believes that the deputies shot her son without any warning and did not try to ease the potential for violence, but instead were startled by his attempt to climb over the shed.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

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