Supreme Court Clears Way for Sonoma County Deputy to Be Tried in Fatal Shooting of Boy With Pellet Gun
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed parents to press ahead with a lawsuit against a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed their 13-year-old son who was walking on a sidewalk carrying a plastic pellet gun.
The justices without comment or dissent denied the county’s appeal seeking immunity for the officer. The court’s decision clears the way for the parents’ wrongful-death suit to go before a jury.
In recent years, the high court has repeatedly blocked lawsuits against law enforcement officers for using excessive force, but it refused to do so in the case of Gelhaus vs. Lopez.
The shooting of Andy Lopez on an October afternoon on a sidewalk in Santa Rosa sparked protests and rallies five years ago. The 5-foot-3 boy was seen carrying a plastic gun that Deputy Erick Gelhaus, an Iraq war vet, thought might be an AK-47.
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