Five Inglewood police officers fired after they fatally shot a young couple sitting in a parked car are suing the city, alleging they were subjected to disparate treatment because they are white.
Former officers Sean Reidy, Richard Parcella, Michael Jaen, Andrew Cohen and Jason Cantrell filed the 31-page lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging unlawful employment discrimination and harassment. The suit gives a lengthy account of the shooting from the standpoint of the plaintiffs, who seek unspecified damages.
A representative for the Inglewood City Attorney's Office could not be immediately reached for comment.
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Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts announced in May 2017 that the five officers were no longer on the force. The lawsuit states that they were fired.
Police previously said the five officers fired 20 bullets into a car while Marquintan Sandlin, 32, and Kisha Michael, 31, sat inside. Autopsies later showed that both Sandlin and Michael had been under the influence of alcohol.
Inglewood police said officers responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle idling in the middle of the road at the intersection of Inglewood Avenue and Manchester Boulevard about 3:10 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2016.
The five plaintiffs as well as some of their colleagues, including two Latino sergeants, saw that Michael had a gun in her lap and that a magazine had been loaded into the weapon, the suit states.
Multiple efforts were made during the next 40 minutes to awaken the pair so they would surrender the gun, the suits states.
"Unfortunately, that was not the case,'' according to the complaint. When they awoke, Michael and Sandlin continued to ignore commands to put their hands up and away from the weapon, the suit states.
"Instead, both occupants reached for the gun and were shot in accordance with use of lethal force as permitted under state and federal law," the suit states.
Michael had extended her hands "directly to the position where the gun was located between her legs (and) all five officers perceived a threat to themselves or other officers and legally discharged their weapons," according to the suit.
Sandlin was shot twice after he was seen "reaching right toward the weapon" and died later at a hospital, the suit states.
All of the plaintiffs were immediately placed on leave, the suit states.
No non-white officers at the scene of the shooting, including two Latino command sergeants, were fired, the suit states.