Family of Juan Garcia Files Claim Against Napa County, Sergeant David Ackman and Others for ...
OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Civil rights law firm Haddad & Sherwin LLP announced today it has filed a Government Code claim on behalf of its clients the Garcia family against Napa County, Napa County Sheriff John R. Robertson, Napa County Sheriff’s Sergeant David Ackman and others. The claim results from the unprovoked, video-recorded shooting death of Juan Garcia, an unarmed, non-threatening 47-year-old father of three on October 5, 2020 by Sergeant Ackman.
One of Juan Garcia’s attorneys, Michael Haddad, stated: “This unprovoked murder of an unarmed, non-threatening Mr. Garcia, followed by their lack of transparency, is a terrible violation of Mr. Garcia and his family’s constitutional rights.”
To interview attorney Michael Haddad or Julia Sherwin of Haddad & Sherwin, please call or email them as listed below. Statements by Garcia family members and photos of the Garcia family are available at the end of this press release and upon request. The Garcia family requests that media do not contact them directly.
Juan Garcia was a resident of Napa County for more than 25 years and lived in the City of Napa with his partner/wife Eva Lopez and other family members. Mr. Garcia was a hard-working, loving and devoted family man and father.
At approximately 10:11 p.m. on October 5, 2020, Sergeant Ackman pulled Juan Garcia’s vehicle over, allegedly for driving without headlights on. Within 38 seconds of Mr. Garcia exiting his vehicle, Sergeant Ackman shot Mr. Garcia six times, killing Mr. Garcia even though he was unarmed and non-threatening.
The Sheriff’s Department held a viewing of excerpts of bodycam footage on October 14. It reveals that Sergeant Ackman exited his vehicle with his gun drawn and immediately pointed it at Mr. Garcia, a very high level of force to use against a non-threatening man suspected of a simple vehicle infraction. Mr. Garcia exited his vehicle with his hands empty, which Sergeant Ackman could clearly see since Mr. Garcia and his vehicle were well illuminated by the headlights of Sergeant Ackman’s patrol vehicle.
Sergeant Ackman chose to use unlawful deadly force against Mr. Garcia, in violation of his duties to ensure that any use of deadly force was both necessary and in response to an immediate threat of death or serious injury. Ackman also failed to give Mr. Garcia a legally required warning before virtually ensuring his death by deadly force. Ackman also failed to evaluate the need for every single shot before firing, appearing to fire six unnecessary shots in a panic. Further, Sergeant Ackman chose not to use his vehicle for cover if he felt threatened by Mr. Garcia, nor to order Mr. Garcia to show his hands or get on the ground, nor to use any less-lethal alternatives to deadly force. All in all, this tragic use of deadly force was completely unjustified.
October 6, the day after Sergeant Ackman shot Mr. Garcia, several Napa County employees and agents interrogated Eva Lopez and Mr. Garcia’s mother, only revealing after interrogation that Mr. Garcia was in the hospital and being detained there and not revealing any details of Mr. Garcia’s injuries or the shooting incident. At the hospital, a doctor informed Ms. Lopez that Mr. Garcia was shot multiple times and was unresponsive when he arrived. Mr. Garcia underwent surgeries but was declared brain dead and a doctor advised Ms. Lopez that life support should be removed as the hospital had done everything possible to save Mr. Garcia.
Mr. Garcia’s body was guarded by officers in the hospital and Ms. Lopez and other family members were prohibited from taking last pictures of Mr. Garcia. He was pronounced dead at 8:35 p.m. on October 6.
Sergeant Ackman used excessive and unjustified force against the unarmed and non-threatening Mr. Garcia. Sheriff Robertson failed to train, monitor and supervise Sergeant Ackman, allowing him to use excessive and unconstitutional force. Sheriff Robertson rejected the family’s requests for information concerning the incident, such as the dash-cam and surveillance video, claiming it was not relevant. Sheriff Robertson also instructed others to refuse to provide information to the Lopez family, stated his intention to delay the investigation until after the Lopez family’s Government Code tort claim is due, and perpetuated the Code of Silence in law enforcement.
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Family Statement, Video, and Photos
The incident video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7ecLBtcQiU
A copy of the Government Code claim, a statement from Garcia family members, and some Garcia family photos, are available here: