LOS ANGELES, CA – Jurors resumed talks Friday in the trial of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy charged with manslaughter for the fatal, on-duty shooting of a man at a Norwalk gas station nearly six years ago.
The panel in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday afternoon got the case against Luke Liu.
Deputy prosecutor Chris Baker told jurors in his closing argument that Liu “made one tragically bad decision after another and killed a non-violent, unarmed man by chasing him down” and shooting him in the back.
But defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz disproved that the prosecution’s statement “may not fit the clues” and called on the panel to acquit his client.
Liu, now 42, was charged in December 2018 with the shooting on February 24, 2016 by Francisco Garcia outside a 7-Eleven at 10962 Alondra Blvd., marking the first prosecution of its kind in the county in nearly two decades at the time.
Garcia, 26, was stopped by a gas pump and the deputy who had checked the vehicle’s license plates subsequently pulled up behind the white 1993 Acura Integra that had been reported stolen.
The 26-year-old man tried to drive away at what authorities have said was about 5km / h, was hit by four of the seven shots Liu fired – including two in the lower back and one each towards the shoulder area and knee – and crashed into in a sign at the station.
After the shooting, Liu pulled the man out of the vehicle and performed CPR on him before ambulance personnel arrived. Garcia died at a hospital.
The prosecutor called the shooting “unreasonable”, “unnecessary” and “illegal” and told juries that Garcia was driving away so slowly that the deputy director was able to jog with and “shoot again and again” and that Garcia had nowhere to go. go, but into the rush hour traffic that blocked the driveway.
The deputy’s attorney told jurors that his client did not knowingly act with disregard for human life, but “protected his own” and “acted to stop a threat.”
Liu believed the man could have reached out for a weapon and felt the vehicle come in contact with him or hit him before the shots were fired, Schwartz said in his concluding argument.
The defense attorney told jurors that the prosecution has the burden of proving that the shooting was not carried out in “legal self-defense.”
In a statement released shortly after Liu was indicted, then-Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said, “We believe the officer’s use of lethal force was unjustified and unreasonable in the circumstances.”
Sheriff’s officials said shortly after the shooting that the deputy feared for his life. They then said the deputy suffered minor injuries when he was hit by the vehicle.
A doctor who examined Liu after he was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center saw no bruises or injuries of any kind, Baker told jurors when the trial began Nov. 3.
Liu, a more than 10-year veteran who was assigned to Cerritos Sheriff’s Station, was put on administrative leave in December 2018. His current status in the department was not immediately available.
In 2018, Los Angeles County agreed to pay Garcia’s family $ 1.75 million to settle an unlawful death.
The city’s news service