Five ex-cops involved in parked-car shooting claim they were fired because they are white

December 27, 2018

Five white ex-cops have filed a lawsuit against the city of Inglewood, California, claiming they were fired based on their race after the fatal shooting of a black couple in a parked car.

The former police officers Sean Reidy, Richard Parcella, Michael Jaen, Andrew Cohen and Jason Cantrell said in the complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court that they were dismissed even though two senior officers at the sceneboth Latino--were not.

“Based on our investigation, we’re convinced that they were fired or terminated because of their race,” attorney Zorik Mooradian told the Washington Times. “They were the five rank-and-file officers at the scene in the harm’s way, with the two Hispanic sergeants supervising.”

The five officers responded in February 2016 to a report of a locked car in the middle of the street with the engine running. Inside were Marquintan Sandlin, 32, and Kisha Michael, 31, both unconscious.

After officers spent 40 minutes trying to rouse them, Mr. Sandlin woke up and drove the Chevy into a patrol car ahead of him, then reversed and hit another police vehicle, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing details provided in the lawsuit.

He was shot and killed after reaching for the loaded semiautomatic firearm in her lap. The officers then shot and killed Ms. Michael after she opened the passenger car door and reached for her lap.

The shooting prompted protests and calls for the city to improve its transparency. In May 2017, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts announced that the officers were no longer employed by the city police department, but declined to provide details.

“They should not have been fired, and they weren’t fired because of the shooting, they were fired because of some very miscellaneous reasons,” Mr. Mooradian said. “It was incomprehensible. It could not be justified.”

Mr. Mooradian said the complaint names the mayor, city council members, police department, and police chief.

The city of Inglewood did not return immediately Thursday a request for comment.

Update hourly