In the likely first step to a lawsuit, the mother of an unarmed autistic man fatally shot by police in Koreatown eariler this month filed a claim against the city of Los Angeles Wednesday.
Kathleen Washington did not attach a dollar amount to her claim connected to the gang-cop shooting of her 27-year-old son. Steven Eugene Washington was killed on South Vermont Avenue near James M. Wood Boulevard early on March 20 after Los Angeles police said he failed to comply with orders and reached for his waistband. Two officers opened fire.
His devastated relatives indicated that, because of his autism, he might not have fully understood the officers. After the fatality, Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger seemed almost apologetic and offered the LAPD's deepest condolences to the family which, in cop-speak, immediately "lawyered up."
Her son "made no aggressive movements, no furtive gestures,'' according to the elder Washington's claim. The document reveals that a possible wrongful death lawsuit against the department and city might also claim that Washington's civil rights were violated.
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The shooting is under investigation.