Los Angeles County settles lawsuit with family of man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in 2014

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Los Angeles County has reached a settlement with the family of a man killed by sheriff’s deputies outside his Vermont Knolls home in 2014, officials said Friday.

Pending approval by the Board of Supervisors, the settlement resolves a civil suit filed by the parents of 28-year-old Johnny Martinez, who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies. The terms of the settlement were not immediately available.

Sheriff’s deputies confronted Martinez on Oct. 4, 2014, in response to a reported assault with a deadly weapon at a duplex. A neighbor, Jose Hernandez, told deputies that Martinez had stabbed him and sliced his face with a knife. Hernandez pointed deputies to the rear of the property.


There they found Martinez sitting on a porch and tried to coax him into putting his hands behind his back, authorities said. In the lawsuit, Martinez’ family said his father told deputies that Martinez was schizophrenic and that once they ordered him to drop his knife, Martinez obeyed.

But prosecutors who investigated the incident said Martinez swung a knife at deputies, who used pepper spray on him and then a Taser. Authorities said Martinez then pulled the Taser prongs out of his chest and charged at the deputies.

Deputies shot Martinez more than 10 times, the family’s lawsuit said.

One bullet or bullet fragment struck the stabbing victim, Hernandez, in the leg. The county paid him and his family $2 million as a result.

The Martinez family lawsuit accused the deputies of negligently opening fire without warning and without attempting less lethal options, such as bringing in a mental health services worker.

The family’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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