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Jury awards more than $8 million in shooting by sheriff’s deputies

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A Compton jury awarded more than $8 million Tuesday to the family of an unarmed 29-year-old shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Lynwood.

Deputies thought Alfredo Montalvo was driving drunk when he pulled out of a parking lot in April 2009. A short pursuit followed, with deputies trailing Montalvo in an unmarked sheriff’s car, the family’s attorney said.

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Montalvo eventually crashed into two parked cars, his vehicle wedged between them. More than a dozen deputies who were called for back-up had surrounded his car, the attorney said, but Montalvo went in reverse at least once and struck the unmarked sheriff’s car.

Deputies fired 61 shots, said the family’s attorney John C. Taylor, in what he described as ‘contagious fire.’

The jury awarded Montalvo’s widow and their children $8,756,000, Taylor said.

‘There’s a real problem with the sheriff in terms of using deadly force when it’s not called for,’ Taylor said.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said the department disagrees with the jury and is considering appealing.

‘He was ramming our deputies with his car,’ said Whitmore. One deputy was knocked to the ground, Whitmore said, and suffered minor injuries.

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