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Jury rejects lawsuit accusing LAPD of negligence in fatal shooting

A jury on Tuesday unanimously rejected a lawsuit by the family of a 21-year-old Latino who was shot and killed by LAPD officers in 2010.

In May of that year, two officers responded to a call for assistance from family members of Oscar Morales, who had a history of suicide threats. At t he family's North Hills home, one officer was in another room with family while the other officer, Davis Giron, stayed in the living room with Morales.

The officers described Morales as initially cooperative, until he suddenly grabbed a fireplace poker and lunged at Giron, who fired his weapon. Morales was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:10 p.m.

The jury decision dismissed claims that officers used improper tactics in the events that led up to the shooting.

Attorney John Burton, who represented the Morales family, said the family does not dispute that Giron appropriately but believed the shooting could have been avoided if the situation was handled differently.

“No one was saying that the decision to pull the trigger was wrong, that was not the case at all … but the officer used inappropriate tactics to isolate him in the room,” Burton told The Times. “He went from calm to suicide-by-cop in a moment.”

-- Stephen Ceasar

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