Trial set to begin for L.A. County sheriff’s deputy accused of manslaughter in 2016 Norwalk shooting

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Luke Liu is seen in court on Dec. 11, 2018. (KTLA)

Luke Liu is seen in court on Dec. 11, 2018. (KTLA)

When Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Liu opened fire on a vehicle in Norwalk in February 2016, the shots didn’t reverberate far beyond the parking lot where he drew his weapon.

There were no protests in the wake of Francisco Garcia’s death that night. No public demands for prosecutors to intervene. No dramatic video to stoke debate about Liu’s deadly decision.

Few had heard of the case when then-Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey filed manslaughter charges against Liu in December 2018, describing the deputy’s choice to shoot into Garcia’s car as he drove away as “unjustified and unreasonable.”

Now, Liu’s case could be a litmus test of juries’ willingness to convict peace officers in the wake of a national reckoning on the way police use force, as he becomes the first law enforcement officer to stand trial for an on-duty shooting in L.A. County in more than two decades.

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