SUIT against LAPD for homeless mom's death: How police the

Tom Boland (
Sat, 19 Jun 1999 13:45:50 -0700 (PDT)

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Can SUING POLICE DEPARTMENTS help to reduce violence and exclusion
aimed at groups whom officials and merchants frame as "undesirable"?

Where you live, who polices the police and hate-groups?
Do they do so effectively?  Why or why not?

What else might we need to do to ensure outcaste and homeless people safety
from vigilante and officially sanctioned violence and intolerance?

Who opposes, ignores and encourages violence against poor people?
Who are the key stakeholders in the criminalization of poverty?
What are the stakes?  Who's winning and losing? How?  Why?

Why doesn't everyone just LIVE AND LET LIVE in peace and cooperation?
Is such a tolerant and inclusive world possible?  If so, what's the way

For a related article, see below:
FWD  Associated Press - Tuesday, June 15, 1999


     Louinn Lota, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The son of a homeless woman shot and killed when she
allegedly threatened two LAPD officers with a screwdriver filed a $50
million wrongful death claim against the city on Tuesday.

Attorney Leo Terrell filed the claim on behalf of Richard Mitchell, 34, the
only son of Margaret Laverne Mitchell, 54. Mrs. Mitchell was killed May 21
when, according to police, she refused to obey officers' orders to drop a

The shooting is under investigation by police, the civilian Police
Commission, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office.

The city has 45 days in which to reject or settle the claim. If the city
does not respond to the claim, Mitchell can filed a lawsuit against the

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bernard Parks declined comment, said
Cmdr. David Kalish, adding that it is department policy not to comment on

The city attorney's office declined comment, said spokesman Mike Qualls.
Qualls said he had not seen the claim.

The claim seeks money because the Police Department violated Mitchell's
civil rights due to his loss of parenthood, Terrell said. The unnecessary
use of deadly force by the officers, under color of law, made the killing a
wrongful death, the lawyer said.

He also said that for 20 minutes to 35 minutes, Mrs. Mitchell encountered
pain and suffering as she lay bleeding on the sidewalk on La Brea Avenue.

Terrell also was seeking to have bicycle patrol Officers Edward Larrigan,
27, and Kathy Clark, 29, fired from the Police Department. Larrigan was the
one who fired the fatal shot, the only gunshot during the shooting.

The police chief has denied accusastions that the shooting was racially
motivated. Mrs. Mitchell was black, one officer is Hispanic and the other
is Asian-American and Hispanic.

Furor over the shooting follows a deadly police-involved shooting in
Riverside. Tyisha Miller, a 19-year-old black woman, was shot and killed
Dec. 28, 1998, by four white Riverside Police Department officers. The
shooting of Ms. Miller also prompted complaints of excessive force and
racial discrimination.


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