Port reaches tentative deal in suit over police brutality lawsuit

The parents of a man who was fatally shot by Harbor Police after jumping off a chartered cruise ship two years ago has reached a tentative $2.5 million settlement in their wrongful-death lawsuit against a Pot Authority in California. The ship had been chartered for a gay pride weekend party, and the plaintiff was one of the event’s hired dancers. He jumped into San Diego Bay about 11 p.m. on July 19 and was shot about 30 minutes later during an altercation with two officers sent to pull him from the water. Police said the victim fought with an officer on a rescue boat and tried to grab his gun. A second officer then shot him.
The parents’ lawyer said the victim was not the aggressor, noting he was unarmed and shot in his back. The family filed a federal lawsuit in November 2008, claiming the Harbor Police violated their son’s civil rights and used excessive force.
“We know it was not a situation where he needed to be shot and killed,” said a Los Angeles attorney, citing forensic and physical evidence in the case. A Port spokesman stressed that the two officers, who were removed from the lawsuit, did not hold any personal biases against the victim or against gay people, referring to allegations the attorney had made. “They only went to save a life,” he said. “That is what they were trying to do.” The victim’s parents hoped their lawsuit would prompt authorities to examine police training policies, the lawyer said. They want their son to be remembered as “an ambitious, caring, loving (and) creative individual,” he said. About 800 people were onboard the 222-foot cruise ship Inspiration when the victim jumped into the bay.
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