Lancaster Couple Awarded $4M in Deputies' Raid Shooting

A man was struck by 10 bullets and his pregnant wife was hit once in a sheriff's raid, according to a lawsuit

A Lancaster  couple was awarded more than $4 million by a Los Angeles federal judge Tuesday for a raid by sheriff's deputies that caused a man to have his leg amputated.

Angel Mendez and his wife accused the deputies - who did not have a search warrant in their search for a wanted parolee - of excessive force and federal civil rights violations in their lawsuit filed against Los Angeles County.
The couple claims they were sound asleep around noon that day in October 2010 when sheriff's Deputies Christopher Conley and Jennifer Pederson  busted into their wooden shack unnannounced.

Mendez said the deputies shot their way through the front door and into his bedroom.

"They just continued to fire," Mendez said.

Fifteen rounds were fired. Mendez was struck 10 times and lost his leg. His pregnant wife was hit once and feared she might lose the baby.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald handed down his ruling, awarding $3.8 million to Mendez and $222,000 to his wife  for damages resulting from Fourth Amendment violations by the deputies.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said the Office of Independent Review  found the shooting was justified and that deputies acted in self defense.

"The individual raised a weapon and pointed it at the deputies," Whitmore said. "They have to do what's necessary and in this case, they fired."

Mendez said he was moving a rifle-style BB gun from his bed so that he could get up.

Sheriff's Department officials said they are considering making an appeal.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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