The family of an unarmed man who was shot and killed last month by Downey Police has announced plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Authorities say police were looking for two ATM machine robbery suspects on October 22nd when they shot and killed 31-year-old Michael Nida. They say cops mistook Nida for one of the perpetrators and he reportedly fled from the officers at least twice.
At a press conference outside Downey police headquarters, the family’s attorney, Brian Claypool, accused police of executing Nida and of racial profiling.
“He looked Hispanic, he had a shaved head and he fit the protocol of a Hispanic young man that usually gets in trouble. And that’s not acceptable," Claypool said.
Claypool added the family will file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the police department, its chief and the officers involved. They’ll also file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Nida’s mother Jean Thaxton fought back tears as she urged Downey authorities to evaluate how cops use their weapons.
“We have police officers in our family," said Thaxton. "So we’re not against police officers. We’re against people that have no business having a gun.”
Claypool says the Downey officer involved shot Nida with a MP5 machine gun. The attorney says he’ll seek action from state lawmakers.
“We need a law in place specifically banning machine guns being deployed by police officers not only in California but nationwide.”
Claypool says swat situations are an exception.
Nida's family said the husband and father of four had jaywalked across a busy street to buy cigarettes near Imperial Highway and Paramount Boulevard at the time of the incident.
The Downey Police Department did not comment on the announced lawsuit. In a statement on its website the department says to avoid a conflict of interest, it has asked the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting.