Judges Back Cop Liability In 39-Bullet Barrage Case

Photo by Dany Fletcher

Two Long Beach police officers who killed an unarmed man during a 39-bullet barrage in 2013 have lost their appeal to escape $2.9 million in liability.

Following a report in the Weekly, a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit this week backed a judge and jury’s findings against officers John B. Fagan and Daniel A. Martinez in the death of 19-year-old Tyler Woods.

The cops claimed they believed Woods, who’d fled a traffic stop, had been on the verge of trying to shoot them, but the panel determined there was “ample evidence” the deceased “posed no immediate threat” to the cops or the surrounding community when he was executed. 

Nineteen of the 39 bullets struck Woods, including six which individually would have been fatal.

Calling the moves “reasonable,” the panel accepted the jury’s finding that the officers “acted with deliberate indifference” to Woods life as well as U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips’ refusal to overturn the verdicts. 

You can read our story about the killing HERE.

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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