Family Of Unarmed College Student Shot And Killed By Police Ready To Sue
The family of an unarmed college student who was shot and killed by a Long Beach police officer in May is preparing to sue the city, police department and the officer who killed him. Feras Morad, 20, needed medical help after, according to friends, his experimentation with hallucinogenic mushrooms went horribly awry. Instead of receiving help, however, Morad was shot and killed by a responding Long Beach police officer on May 27. Morad was unarmed at the time of his death. Morad's family is preparing to file a tort claim against Long Beach Police Officer Matthew Hernandez, the Long Beach Police Department and the City of Long Beach, the L.A. Times reports.
Hernandez responded to the 4600 block of East 15th Street at about 7:30 p.m. on May 27 after a caller said they saw Morad either jump or fall from a window on the second floor. According to the 9-1-1 call that was later released by police, the caller said, "I think one of our neighbors might be intoxicated and they fell out of a window and they're bloody. He's kind of irate. They're walking around, some of his friends are trying to get him back...He fell out of a second-story window, or jumped, I don't even know. He's walking around very intoxicated and bloody." When the dispatcher asked if the man was violent, the caller replied, "I think he is a little bit violent."
Morad's cousin admitted that Morad had taken hallucinogenic mushrooms for the first time that night and "unfortunately, he had a bad reaction to it."
When Hernandez arrived and approached Morad, police say a bloodied Morad started moving towards him. Hernandaz shot a Taser at Morad twice. During a struggle between the two men, Hernandez also hit Morad with his flashlight. When Morad again moved towards Hernandez, he shot him. Morad was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The family's attorney, Dan Stormer, has not denied the likelihood that Morad had drugs in his system that night, though the toxicology report has not been completed. Stormer is arguing that Hernandez was wrong to not call for backup. "Thirty seconds to wait for backup," Stormer said. "All he had to do was wait."
A witness told NBC LA that "if that officer wasn't there, I guarantee you 10 people from this neighborhood could have gotten that intoxicated child down on the ground and into an ambulance for help. He needed help, he didn't need to die."
Morad attended Moorpark College where he held a 3.9 GPA with plans to attend Long Beach State in the fall. He was a skilled member of the debate team when he attended El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, and wanted to eventually become a lawyer for victims of police brutality.
About a month before Morad's death, Long Beach police shot and killed 19-year-old Hector Morejon in a vacant apartment. Police responded to a report that someone was trespassing inside the building. When they arrived, they saw Morejon standing inside the apartment near a window. An officer thought he saw Morejon pointing a gun at police and shot him. However, police were later unable to find a gun. Morejon's mother lived a few houses down from the vacant apartment and saw her son in an ambulance. She said he called out to her, "Mommy, Mommy, please come!" The police did not allow her to go to the hospital with Morejon, where he died.