Five former Inglewood, California police officers were fired after fatally shooting a couple sitting in a car.
Now the officers have filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming they were discriminated against because they are white. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
During the incident, the officers – Sean Reidy, Richard Parcella, Michael Jaen, Andrew Cohen, and Jason Cantrell were following orders of the two more experienced Latino sergeants at the scene who were not fired, said their attorney Zorik Mooradian.
The officers were fired in May 2017.
In February 2016 the officers responded to a report of people unconscious inside a Chevy. Officers found the car stopped in the middle of a street with its engine running, Marquintan Sandlin, 32, and Kisha Michael, 31, were unresponsive inside. It was later determined that both occupants in the Chevy were under the influence of alcohol.
Officers saw a loaded semiautomatic gun on the woman’s lap, The Washington Times reports.
Over the next 40 or so minutes, the officers tried to wake up the couple. One of the first two officers at the scene knocked on the driver’s window. A sergeant showed up and instructed them to check the doors – all were locked.
Three more officers and another sergeant, a SWAT team member with 17 years on the force, arrived soon after.
Some of the officers tried yelling commands. The second sergeant, who became the incident commander, instructed one of the officers to turn on his lights and siren to see if the noise would stir the couple. The officer was then told to bump the vehicle with his patrol car.
Eventually, the couple woke up. Meanwhile, higher-ups in the department were contemplating whether to call the SWAT team to the scene.
They noticed Sandlin wake up after the incident commander used a public address system to tell the couple to put their hands in the air. It was then that Sandlin drove his Chevy into the patrol car in front of him, then reversed into the police vehicle behind him.
He then reached toward the woman’s lap, prompting Officer Parcella to fire two rounds with his shotgun. Sandlin was struck and later died.
Moments later, the passenger door opened and the woman reached for her lap. All five officers opened fire. Michael was pronounced dead at the scene.
The officers were placed on leave and were eventually fired after a year long investigation.
However, the two latino supervisors still work for the department.
Mooradian, the attorney for the plaintiffs says:
“My question is why the commanding officers at the scene are still serving the Police Department and five young, white officers who were in harm’s way and acting in conformity with the orders given to them were fired”