LANCASTER, Calif. — A Los Angeles federal judge awarded a Lancaster couple about $4 million for a warrant-less raid by deputies that caused a man to have his leg amputated, attorneys said today.
Angel Mendez and his wife sued Los Angeles County two years ago, alleging excessive force and federal civil rights violations.
The couple lived in a makeshift dwelling when they were shot more than a dozen times by sheriff’s Deputies Christopher Conley and Jennifer Pederson, members of the Community-Oriented Policing Unit, during a warrant-less raid while searching for a parolee-at-large, according to court papers.
Mendez, who was holding a rifle-style BB gun, was critically injured, resulting in the amputation of his leg. His wife, who was pregnant at the time, was struck once by a bullet, which shattered her collar bone.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald handed down his ruling Tuesday, awarding $3.8 million to Mendez and $222,000 to his wife, Jennifer, for damages resulting from Fourth Amendment violations by the deputies.
A four-day bench trial took place earlier this year.
According to Fitzgerald’s ruling, Conley and Pederson “violated Mr. and Mrs. Mendez’s constitutional right to be free from an unreasonable search based on the manner of entry.”