The family of a man shot to death by Long Beach police last month has taken the first step in filing a lawsuit against the city, their attorney said Thursday.
"It was the wrong thing to do," said Opsitnick of the shooting. "He had his hands on the rail going down, he never put his hands down."
She described her nephew, whom she last saw in November, as funny and cheerful.
There were 15 officer-involved shootings in Long Beach in 2013, excluding accidental discharges and animal shootings, more than double the number from the previous year. Of those, six were fatal.
During the confrontation, deputies say he brandished a pair of scissors and then fled to a white SUV.
Authorities say Conoscenti came to a stop in a cul-de-sac near the corner of East Ocean Boulevard and 14th Place, at the top of a set of stairs leading to the beach, and refused to comply with commands to exit the car.
According to a statement from the Long Beach Police Department, officers on the beach had an obstructed view of the bottom of the stairs and heard gunshots from above.
"He was always good to me," she said. "He didn't want to hurt anybody if he didn't have to."
"He told me, 'As long as you have your hands out, and you don't have them hidden or anything like that, they know you're unarmed,'" she said.
The Long Beach city attorney and a representative for the Police Department say they have not yet received the claim and declined to comment.
"This is a tragic event that occurred, and I'm sure it's difficult for all that are involved," said Cmdr. Don Wood of the Long Beach Police Department's Gang and Violent Crime division.
Wood, who is overseeing the department's internal investigation of the shooting, said the officers involved in Conoscenti's shooting have since been evaluated by a psychologist and released to their full duties.