Compton resident Winston Hayes, 46, was frustrated.
In May of 2006 around 12 p.m., Hayes was parked on a residential street waiting for a friend to arrive home.
At first, Hayes didn’t notice a shadowy figure approaching his vehicle. Unaware that it was a sheriff’s deputy and fearing that he was about to be assaulted, Hayes began driving away, too afraid to put up his hands, leave his vehicle and surrender to police.
Unbeknownst to Hayes, a shooting had occurred in the area and the sheriff’s deputy was investigating the incident.
Driving at a speed of approximately three miles per hour, Hayes became the target of excessive gunfire. Ten sheriff’s deputies fired 120 rounds at the vehicle.
Hayes testified about his ordeal Tuesday during the beginning of his civil trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Compton.
Despite testimony from the sheriffs that Hayes drove toward them along a stretch of Butler Street in Compton, Hayes insisted that he never tried to run down the deputies.
With eight of the 10 officers involved in the incident present at the trial, Hayes admitted in court that he had smoked marijuana laced with cocaine before driving off in his vehicle.
Looking nervous but resolute, Hayes showed blown up photographs of himself that graphically depicted his injuries: a shattered arm, wounds to the face and neck that left him with a drooping left eyelid, a pierced foot, a fingertip blown off by gunfire, and six scars on his back.
“One of the bullets hit Hayes in the head and he has partial paralysis on the side of his face,” said one of Hayes’ attorneys, Brian Dunn of The Cochran Firm. “He can see out of one eye, but the whole left side of his face is paralyzed,” said Dunn.
During the trial, Hayes’ attorney, Joseph M. Barrett, asked Hayes why he didn’t stop when he realized that deputies were pursuing him.
“I am bipolar. I have racing thoughts. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to be hurt,” Hayes said.
A videotape of the incident was shown in court depicting officers shooting at the vehicle. “It shows the entire incident and where all the deputies were standing at the time of the shooting,” said Dunn. “You could clearly see that Hayes’ car was going three miles per hour and the deputies just kept shooting into the car.”
Hayes is no stranger to the law–he has past convictions that include assault, arson, theft and resisting arrest.
Dunn said that despite Hayes’ past convictions, he is confident that the jury will focus on the facts of the shooting. “If the jury pays attention to the evidence, they will realize what happened in the night in question and none of Hayes’ past convictions should be brought in as evidence.”
The case has attracted widespread outcry and has caused attention to be focused on training in the Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Lee Baca has disciplined all the officers involved.
Dunn, who believes that closing arguments for the case will occur Friday, said that damages in the case have yet to be decided. “But it will be in the millions,” Dunn said.