In the chaotic last moments of John Berry’s life, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to pull him from his car and shot him with a Taser as a woman screamed at them to stop. Then came the gunfire that sprayed the windshield of his BMW. Minutes later, the 31-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene — the curb just outside his Lakewood home.
The July 6 encounter was captured on a shaky, three-minute cellphone video that attorneys for Berry’s family said Monday is key evidence in a claim they filed against the county and the Sheriff’s Department for negligence, assault and battery and violation of civil rights.
At the time of the shooting, the agency said Berry had rammed his vehicle into a responding patrol car and later trapped a deputy between his vehicle and another auto. “Fearing for the deputy’s life, the assisting deputies fired at the suspect,” read a statement released shortly afterward.
But an attorney for Berry’s family said that Berry never struck the patrol car with his vehicle and that the shooting began after a deputy fell down beside the cars.
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