A Los Angeles Superior Court jury Tuesday unanimously awarded $2.1 million to a former San Fernando police reserve officer who was shot and seriously wounded by a Los Angeles narcotics detective during a 1980 stakeout.
Ricardo Rose, 29, of Northridge, who said the accidental shooting ended his lifelong dream of a career in law enforcement, burst into tears as the verdict against the City of Los Angeles was read. He embraced and thanked many of the jurors, who had deliberated since late Thursday, after they were dismissed by Judge Bonnie Lee Martin.
The Los Angeles police detective, Victor L. Carranza, 46, also was named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit. The jury found that Carranza was negligent when he shot Rose, but an assistant city attorney said the detective will not have to pay a share of the award.
Jury foreman Regina Sabados, 43, a legal assistant, said jury members came to their decision “calmly, collectively and logically.”
Judgment Called ‘Excessive’
Rose’s attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., said he was elated at the verdict because it was unanimous and because of the size of the award. Thomas Hokinson, assistant city attorney, called the judgment “excessive.” He said city officials will review the jury’s finding and then decide what, if any, action the city will take next.
Rose, who was hit three times in his legs by slugs from Carranza’s .38-caliber revolver, was forced to resign from the San Fernando Police Department because of his injuries. Cochran told the jury that Rose is permanently disabled and will suffer emotional trauma for the rest of his life.
On June 25, 1980, Rose and Carranza met 10 minutes before a stakeout was set up in front of an apartment house in the 2400 block of West 9th Street in Los Angeles, according to testimony during the 10-day trial. But Carranza said that, when he saw Rose later, he mistook him for the suspected drug dealer that San Fernando and Los Angeles police were attempting to apprehend.
Los Angeles Police Lt. Charles Higbie, who handled the investigation into the shooting for both departments, said Carranza did not recognize Rose because the Los Angeles officer was concentrating on the gun in Rose’s hand. Rose was wearing a blue shirt, the same color the narcotics suspect had been reported as wearing, and emerged from a brown, unmarked police car, the same color as the suspect’s car, Higbie said. Rose also resembled the suspect, Paul Ramos, 54, in build, he said.
Rose said he was standing by the side of the suspect’s car and was in the process of arresting Ramos when he saw Carranza coming toward him with his gun drawn. Rose testified that he identified himself as a police officer several times and held up his badge before Carranza shot him.
A year after the shooting, a Los Angeles police board of rights found Carranza guilty of employing improper tactics when he shot Rose. But the board acquitted him of a second and more serious charge of violating department policy governing the circumstances under which firearms are used. The board suspended Carranza for two days without pay. The civil lawsuit, which at first sought $10 million in damages, was filed that same year.
Rose, who walks with a limp, said he now is working at writing music and movie scripts. After the verdict, he immediately called his parents, with whom he has been living since the incident. Rose said he no longer needs a cane to walk, but cannot sit or stand for long periods.