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LAPD Shooting Of Unarmed Man Left Him Blind And With A Hole In His Skull
The man shot in the head by an LAPD officer near Griffith Park back in June has since been released from the hospital, but now requires extensive care and faces mounting medical bills.Walter DeLeon, who was shot on June 19 by officer Cairo Palacios, underwent "extensive rehabilitation" after being released from the hospital and is now in the care of family members. A family friend of DeLeon's says he is now blind in one eye, has blurred vision in the other, still has a hole in his skull, and has suffered brain swelling. DeLeon's younger sister Yovanna has stopped working as a social worker in order to care for her brother.
"The fact that he lived through this is amazing," Aubrey Binzer told told Los Feliz Ledger. "But his life has changed forever. He's in a very bad way."
According to Binzer, DeLeon has not spoken much about the shooting, saying only, "I was just on my way home and I didn't make it."
The LAPD says that DeLeon flagged down officers on Griffith Park Boulevard and began waving a towel-wrapped arm at them, leading them to believe that he was armed. No gun was recovered at the scene. An extremely graphic video caught the aftermath off the shooting, which showed officers turning DeLeon's body over and handcuffing him. The department defended the officers' actions after the shooting, saying it was standard procedure.
"I don't like the way the LAPD is portraying my father as a criminal because he's not," said 18-year old William DeLeon after the shooting. "He's a father." Family members dispute the officers' account, saying it was out of character for DeLeon to act that way, and also contend that officers were too quick to pull the trigger.
"It's inhumane what happened to my brother," said Yovanna DeLeon.
The ultimate total of Walter DeLeon's medical bulls is unclear, but Binzer has set up an online fundraiser to help cover the cost. "The situation [DeLeon's family is in]," Binzer writes, "is completely unfair and beyond them."