The family of a 23-year-old man who was fatally shot by police officers in San Bernardino announced on Friday that they are filing a $100 million lawsuit against the police department.
The family of Rob Adams, 23, claims Adams was shot multiple times by police as he was running away while holding a cellphone on July 16. He later died from his injuries.
Police claim Adams was armed during the deadly encounter, while his family denies that allegation. The family is now seeking $100 million in a federal civil rights lawsuit and says this isn’t about the money, but about sending a message to police departments and cities across the U.S.
“Seven times, they shot him in the back,” said Ben Crump, the family’s attorney.
The victim’s mother told KTLA’s Sandra Mitchell how her son was an honor student and a great child.
“He was well loved,” said Tamika King. “We all loved him so much and he loved us.”
“It will never be enough,” said Brad Gage, another attorney for the family. “It can never be enough because Rob is gone.”
The shooting happened at a parking lot on the 400 Block of West Highland Avenue which was located next to an illegal online gambling business, according to police.
The deadly encounter was captured on security cameras. Police say they arrived in an unmarked car to reports of an armed man seen in the parking lot.
Police claim Adams saw their vehicle, pulled out a loaded gun and began walking toward the officers’ car.
But Adams’ family says he didn’t have a gun in his hand. His mother said it was a cellphone, and that she had been on the phone with him up until the moment she heard gunshots.
The family’s attorneys say Adams was targeted because he was Black.
“It’s about pattern and practice that exists with police to use unnecessary, unjustifiable excessive use of force,” said the attorneys.
Just after the shooting, San Bernardino Police said Adams was found in possession of a loaded handgun and was reportedly taking an offensive position during the shooting.
“The officers exited the vehicle and gave Adams verbal commands,” said police. “But he immediately ran toward two parked vehicles with the gun in his right hand. Officers briefly chased Adams but seeing that he had no outlet, they believed that he intended to use the vehicle as cover to shoot at them.”
Security video appears to show Adams being shot in the back.
The family’s attorneys insist this case is not about just the shooting or Rob Adams, but about an effort to eliminate racial profiling while holding police accountable.
“The only way that you can get them to make real change is if they have to pay so much money,” said Gage. “It’s too expensive for us to allow our officers to use improper and dangerous tactics and kill innocent people.”
KTLA reached out to the San Bernardino Police Department and no new comments were provided on the impending case. The names of the officers involved have not been released.