O.C. Deputy Who Shot, Stomped on Suspect Already Down Can Be Sued for Excessive Force, Appeals Court Rules

An Orange County sheriff’s deputy who in 2013 continued to shoot a felled suspect and then stomped his head may be sued for using excessive deadly force, a federal appeals court decided Wednesday.

The scene after a man was killed in a deputy-involved shooting in Laguna Niguel is seen here. (Credit: KTLA)

The scene after Connor Zion, 21, was killed in a deputy-involved shooting in Laguna Niguel is seen here. (Credit: KTLA)

“When police confront a suspect who poses an immediate threat, they may use deadly force against him,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. “But they must stop using deadly force when the suspect no longer poses a threat.”

In an unusual action, the court released the police videos of the fatal shooting, which can be viewed here and here. The shooting occurred three minutes into the first video and 3½ minutes into the second.

The court reached its decision in a lawsuit filed by the mother of Connor Zion, 21, who suffered seizures, bit his mother and cut her and his roommate with a kitchen knife, according to the court.