A South Gate man is suing the city after police shot him several times, leaving him debilitated and unable to walk, according to his attorney.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court alleges the South Gate Police Department was negligent and unnecessarily used deadly force when officers shot Daniel Canizales, 23, as he was walking, unarmed, on Paramount Boulevard.
“It’s just real sad and depressing. I thank God that I’m here,” Canizales said at a news conference this week as he sat in a wheelchair, his leg in a cast.
As a result of the Jan. 29 shooting, Canizales will need a lifetime of medical attention for his left knee because of permanent nerve damage, according to the man’s attorney and his brother.
“Officers can shoot someone if the person is an imminent threat to their safety,” said attorney Luis Carillo. “What imminent threat to these officers’ safety was Daniel when he walking down the street with his arms visible and no gun is there?”
The South Gate Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit or give details about the shooting. South Gate’s city attorney could not immediately be reached.
Carillo said he does not know why police were looking at his client. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the shooting, said South Gate officers were responding to a disturbance call near Garfield Avenue and Main Street.
They came across Canizales on the 13400 block of Paramount Boulevard. Sheriff’s officials said the man refused the officers’ commands to stop and “continued to walk briskly away” for two blocks “at which time [the] suspect’s actions led to an officer involved shooting.”
The Sheriff’s Department did not specify what actions led to the shooting or why he was asked to stop. Canizales was shot “multiple times” and officers didn’t find a firearm, Sheriff’s officials said.
Video of the incident released by Carillo shows Canizales walking on the sidewalk as several police vehicles approach him. When he sees the police, he runs away and into a business or alleyway, out of sight. Canizales soon walks back out onto the sidewalk and continues to walk at a slow pace as police exit their vehicles and point their guns toward him.
His arms can be seen swinging by his side, and several times he reaches down to pull up his pants. Police follow him down the block and Canizales suddenly falls to the ground. Carillo said Canizales was shot 16 times.
“During this time, there were no reports to or from the South Gate Police Department that [Canizales] caused any harm to any persons or caused any property damage, or that he presented an immediate threat of shooting … anyone, including South Gate police officers,” the lawsuit states.
Canizales is seeking unspecified damages, including attorney fees.