LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A jury Tuesday, August 2, directed the city of Los Angeles to pay $1.43 million to the father of a man shot to death by a Los Angeles police officer in Pacoima in 2013, finding that both the officer and the victim were negligent.
The Los Angeles Superior Court panel’s total award to plaintiff Greg Eaddy was $2.2 million. However the jury found that Officer Christopher Carr was 65 percent negligent and the remainder was attributed to the decedent, 26-year-old Christian Eaddy. The panel also found that Christian Eaddy’s civil rights were violated.
“I’m glad the family finally got justice,” Greg Eaddy’s attorney, Robert Brown, said outside the courtroom. “But it does not mitigate the fact that Christian Eaddy lost his life.”
Rosalind Scarbrough, president of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the NAACP, was present in the courtroom. She said she attended church with the Eaddy family.
“I’m very thankful,” she said of the verdict.
Deputy City Attorney J. Edwin Rathbun declined to comment on the verdict, which came after about a day of deliberations. Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, said he might have a comment later.
The shooting happened about 2:15 p.m. May 16, 2013, in the 13000 block of Corcoran Street after officers responded to a report of a man with two knives and syringes threatening to kill himself, Los Angeles police Sgt. Susie Padilla said at the time. Christian Eaddy later died at a hospital.
Attorneys for Greg Eaddy maintain that his son’s life could have been spared had Carr and Officer Fernando Avila showed better judgment and made sound tactical decisions, such as waiting for other officers already on their way to the scene.
They say Christian Eaddy had placed the two knives in a shopping cart in the driveway of his home before Carr shot him. Prior to the shooting, Avila fired a stun gun at the young man, plaintiff’s attorney Robert Brown said.
Carr is white and Christian Eaddy was black, but neither side said the shooting was racially motivated.
Brown’s co-counsel, John Taylor, said Avila and Carr were backup officers to the patrol unit that received a 911 call from Eaddy’s family that he was displaying suicidal behavior, but that the pair arrived first.
Avila and Car made “cascading tactical decisions” from the time they arrived that displayed a “cynical approach that permeates the culture of the LAPD,” according to the plaintiff’s legal team. Carr originally armed himself with a beanbag gun, but dropped it in favor of his firearm, Taylor said. But Rathbun said during his final argument that Carr used justifiable deadly force because Christian Eaddy was charging at him with both knives . The officers wanted to protect everyone present, including the Eaddy family members, Rathbun said.
“The officers handled the situation exactly as they were trained to do,” Rathbun said. “That’s what we want our police officers to do.”
Greg Eaddy filed the lawsuit in January 2014. He and his son’s mother, Iola Propps, were unmarried. She died last year.
Greg Eaddy’s attorneys dropped Carr as a defendant before the trial began.