Attorneys representing the family of a Chinese immigrant fatally shot by a police officer who was serving a search warrant on a suspected illegal marijuana operation at a Chino residence announced taking legal action against the Police Department on Wednesday.
Li Xi Wang, 49, of Fontana, was not armed and hiding behind a door when one of several officers who were at the scene shot him on July 3 at a home in the 6800 block of Rockrose Street, according to Chino police. His family’s lawyers said he did not speak English and therefore did not understand the officers’ orders.
On Aug. 23, the agency released body camera video that captured the ordeal, from the time the police team knocked on the home’s door to the shooting.
“I’m gonna… Let me see your hands, dude,” an officer is heard saying before immediately firing at Wang.
Wang was taken to a hospital, where he remained for a week before the family decided to take him off life support, lawyer Daniel Deng said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Before the shooting, footage shows officers taking the other occupant of the residence, identified by the Cochran Firm as Ai Yue Cai, into the front yard and asking her whether or not anybody was inside the home in English. She shook her head.
Cai did not speak English, according to the Cochran Firm.
There had been a clear language barrier, said the family’s attorneys, alleging negligent hiring and training among other claims against the Police Department.
Chino police said they later determined that the pair operated another marijuana grow house in Fontana and that they ultimately seized nearly 1,500 marijuana plants, $35,000 in cash and evidence of grand theft of more than $105,000.
According to the family’s lawyers, Wang came to the U.S. in 2005 and worked various jobs to support his son and mother in China.
“He did everything he can as a father, as a son, to take care of the family,” Deng told reporters on Wednesday.
Wang was hired to “take care of the marijuana house,” Deng said.
“He is not a drug dealer. He’s not a smuggler,” the lawyer added.
The $30,000 authorities found at his house in Fontana was his life savings, along with the savings of Cai, Wang’s friend, according to the family’s attorneys.
In a statement Wednesday, the Chino Police Department said it “treats any loss of life very seriously and we have personally shared our condolences with the Wang family.”
The agency said it’s cooperating with the ongoing investigations conducted by the county.
“Our department is also reviewing the shooting from all angles and if we find any tactics, policies, procedures or other issues or actions that need to be addressed, we will address them,” the statement said. “The results of our investigation will be made public.”