A California family is suing police after a deputy tasered and fatally shot their unarmed son when they called seeking help for his depression.
Jorge I. Ramirez’s family filed suit against Stanislaus County and the Sheriff’s Department for using unreasonable force.
His father, Jorge Ramirez, said he called the police on April 16, 2012, at 4:20 p.m. because his 32-year-old son was depressed and had threatened to commit suicide. He claims he never told the operator that there was a crime or family dispute in progress.
Deputy Art Parra, Jr. responded to the call. When he arrived he immediately asked where Ramirez was. He confronted Ramirez, who was sitting of a sofa, and told him to put his hands behind his back, according to the suit filed in federal District Court in Fresno.
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Ramirez would not comply and wanted to know what was going on. His parents claim that’s when Parra Tasered their son without any warning. Ramirez fell to floor.
When he recovered, Parra allegedly warned him that he would shoot him. His parents say he was dazed, but was still nonviolent.
“At this time, and without providing any warning, Parra withdrew his firearm from his holster and shot four bullets at Ramirez,” the suit claims, according to Courthouse News. “Parra was approximately eight feet away at the time he fired four shots at Ramirez, and three bullets struck Ramirez.”
He was taken to Doctors Medical Center and pronounced dead.
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Parra alleged that he had a physical struggle with Ramirez who attempted to take his Taser. The lawsuit does not mention any such struggle. It does mention that Ramirez was 5’11’’ and only 120 pounds.
“At no time was Ramirez armed or in the vicinity of a weapon,” the suit reads. “Ramirez did not threaten Parra's safety or engage in any conduct that would cause a reasonable person to believe that Ramirez intended to threaten or harm Parra or anyone else, or to flee or otherwise attempt to avoid Parra. Ramirez did not commit any crime in Parra's presence.”
District Attorney Birgit Fladager said her office investigated the incident and cleared Parra of any wrongdoing.
In the suit, the Ramirez family claims Parra’s actions were “completely uncalled for and an abuse of power.”