Family of Killed Calif. Teen to Get $2.1M
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The family of a teenager killed by police in a case of mistaken identity will receive $2.1 million in compensation for his death.
A federal jury Friday deliberated about four hours in the lawsuit filed by the family of 18-year-old Antonio Saldivar, according to their lawyer Ray Brown.
The jury denied punitive damages, finding Huntington Beach police Officer Mark Wersching did not act with reckless disregard in the May 5, 2000, shooting. Police said Saldivar was holding a toy rifle when he was fatally shot.
``We’re ecstatic. It’s an excellent result and an appropriate one,″ Brown said.
Wersching’s attorney, Neal Moore, said he was surprised and disappointed, but that he would talk to officials before deciding whether to appeal.
An investigation showed the officer had been chasing another man and briefly lost the suspect when he came across Saldivar. No criminal charges were filed against the officer.
The shooting ignited protests in the poor and predominantly Latino neighborhood where the incident occurred.