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Family Rails Against Deputies Who Mistakenly Killed 'Tosh.0' Production Assistant

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The family of a man mistakenly killed by West Hollywood deputies earlier this month has filed a $25 million claim against the sheriff's department. The family says the claim is the first step in trying to understand the events that led to the fatal shooting and suing the department.The claim was announced in a press conference held yesterday by in Winkler's native Seattle. Family members attended and vowed to hold the officers who killed accountable. Winkler's mother Lisa Ostergren told reporters, "Our family wants to find out the truth of what happened that night and want those officers to be held accountable for what they’ve done. It never should have happened … words really can’t express how devastated we really are."

The 30-year-old had moved from Washington state about six months ago with dreams of working in Hollywood as a producer. Shortly before his death on the night of April 7, he landed a job as a production assistant at Tosh.0.

Winkler was visiting the apartment of his friend Alexander McDonald, who at one point started acting strangely and attempted to hold Winkler and two other friends hostage at knifepoint. (He has since been charged with murder, torture and attempted murder.) Liam Mulligan, who had been stabbed in the hostage situation, rushed out the door followed by Winkler. At that moment, deputies showed up on the scene. Deputies said that Winkler matched the description of the suspect—both were wearing black tees— and that it appeared Winkler was lunging at Mulligan. They also said they believed there were only two men in the apartment.

But Winkler's family disputes says deputies should have known better than to shoot Winkler, since witnesses gave deputies a photo of McDonald before they visited his apartment.

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Sim Osborn, the lawyer filing the claim on behalf of the family said at the press conference, “Unfortunately, victims like John and his family have little leverage or power to seek truth or to demand accountability through means other than legal action. Lisa and her family deserve to know how and why the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department failed so horribly that it cost John his life.”

Tomorrow evening friends and comedians, including Daniel Tosh, will be performing in a comedy show that will function as a memorial of sorts at Hollywood Improv called "Laughing for Winkler." Tickets are $20 and proceeds will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of America.