The family of a mentally ill man fatally shot by deputies in Lakewood last month released a video Monday that allegedly contradicts the Sheriff’s Department's account of the incident.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the July 6 shooting occurred after federal police officer Chris Berry, suspecting that his younger brother John Berry was off his medication, called the Lakewood sheriff’s station and asked for a mental evaluation team.
Deputies arrived instead. The department claims John Berry tried to drive his car into the officers’ patrol car, reported NBC4. But his family said that a three-minute video, which partially shows the altercation and is now part of the investigation, disputes that Berry became erratic and posed a threat.
"They said he accelerated and crashed into the police car. That did not happen — I was there for the whole thing," Chris Berry told the Times. "But they have to say that because it justifies their aggressive actions... I believe in my heart and I know Johnny wasn't trying to hurt them."
Susan Berry, their mother, told NBC4, "No one should be treated that way, whether they had mental problems or not. I think that everybody needs to be respected."
The Berry family filed a lawsuit last month against Los Angeles County and the Sheriff’s Department for negligence, assault and battery and violation of civil rights, according to the Times.