Black teen shot in back by cops because friend was holding toy gun sues LAPD for $20 million

An African American teenager who was shot by a police officer in the back because his friend was holding a toy gun is suing Los Angeles for $20 million.

Jamar Nicholson, 15, and his friends were hanging out in an alleyway in South L.A. before school on February 10 when two police officers working for the LAPD’s criminal gang-homicide unit approached the boys with their guns drawn.

The LA Times reports that one of the teenagers was holding a toy gun that the officers thought was real and it prompted the officers to fire.

Nicholson was shot in the back by officer Miguel Gutierrez and is in pain but he says he and his friends feel lucky to be alive.

Nicholson was standing next to the unidentified teenager who was holding the replica of the gun.

‘Jamar is really lucky to be alive. With respect to the other kids, they are lucky as well that they weren’t hit. It doesn’t appear that the officer who shot used a lot of discrimination with where he aimed the pistol,’ Jamar’s attorney Herbert Hayden told Yahoo News.

The gun that officers thought was real had an orange tip indicating that it was fake.

Another attorney John W. Harris who is representing Nicholson and his friend 17-year-old Jason Huerta is arguing that Nicholson and his friend posed no threat to police officers or themselves.

‘The LAPD shot first and then asked questions later,’ Harris said.

The LAPD says that at 7.45am on February 10, officers saw a teen holding what appeared to be a gun and they claim they told him to drop it.

‘Officers ordered him to drop the weapon multiple times. The individual ignored the officer’s commands,’ a police news release reads.

Attorney Hayden said that had a camera been rolling, the LAPD’s story may have been expressed differently.

‘The police department’s officers have each other’s backs. If there is no camera rolling, they are free to construe the facts how they see fit,’ Hayden said.

‘It’s so bizarre in this incident that testimony of the people we interviewed is so drastically different from the story the LAPD has been pumping out since this first started,’ he added.

Hayden said that the officer who shot Nicholson, Miguel Gutierrez, also shot and killed a dog in 2008 when responding to a traffic collision.

Both Nicholson and Huerta said they feel traumatized by what happened to them.

Nicholson said he had to miss school as a result of the shooting and said that he felt tremendous pain from his injuries.

‘I see a cop and I get nervous,’ he said.

‘I’ve never really looked at police in a certain way, until that day.’

Nicholson and Huerta say they have never been in trouble with the law before.

‘You can check our records,’ Huerta insisted.

‘That’s a bad way to meet officers,’ Nicholson said. His friend nodded.

‘Got off on the wrong foot,’ Huerta said.

Officer Gutierrez has returned to full duty since the incident, though it remains under investigation.

Source: The DailyMail Online

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