Culver City police shot, killed unarmed man having mental health crisis, lawsuit alleges

CULVER CITY, Calif. (CABC) — The family of a man who was shot and killed by Culver City police officers last year filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging the officers failed to provide timely medical attention that may have prevented the death.

Adriana Medina has filed a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit in the fatal shooting of Guillermo Medina.

Police received a call around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 18 reporting that Guillermo Medina, who suffered from schizophrenia, had a mental health disorder and was acting erratically, according to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Culver City police said officers responded to a domestic violence incident where “the husband/suspect threatened the wife/victim with a gun.”

Medina fled in his vehicle after officers arrived and led them on a chase, according to a news release from Culver City police.

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Police said Medina crashed into the center median in the area of ​​Culver Boulevard and Cardiff Avenue and then ran.

According to the lawyer V. James DeSimone, security camera footage shows Medina running from officers in an empty parking lot.

After police shot him in the back, he fell forward on his face and then rolled onto his back, arms outstretched, said DeSimone, who is representing Medina’s wife, Adrianna, and their three children in the lawsuit.

Prosecutors argue that while it was clear the injured Medina could not have caused harm — noting that no weapon was found at the scene — the officers stood by for nearly a full minute without rendering medical aid, wasting critical time that could have made the difference between life and death. . The officers then roughly handcuffed the mortally wounded and apparently incapacitated Medina without providing medical care, the lawsuit says.

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DeSimone said no gun threats were made and there were no reports of domestic violence, contrary to what police said.

Medina was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and had been off his medication for several weeks when he showed up at his home banging on the windows, his wife told a news conference.

Adriana Medina told police she didn’t believe her husband would hurt anyone, the lawsuit says.

She said her husband was a good father who cooked for their children and coached them in youth soccer.

“The sudden loss of my husband has completely destroyed my family and turned our lives upside down,” she said. “I can’t believe he was taken from us when he really needed help.”

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The lawsuit alleges that the officers’ use of force against Medina was excessive, unreasonable and unconstitutional, and further alleges that the police engaged in assault and battery and are liable for wrongful death claims.

“They knew or should have known that Mr. Medina did not pose a threat to their safety or the safety of others,” DeSimone said in a statement. Culver City and its police department appear to be maintaining unconstitutional practices that not only condone but encourage the use of excessive force.”

Medina’s family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the city and police department.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.

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