Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Jury finds ex-LAPD officer liable in 2008 killing

A former Los Angeles Police Department officer, fired from the department for dishonesty, was wrong to kill a man in a 2008 shooting, a federal jury concluded Monday.

In returning a unanimous verdict against the ex-officer, Joseph Cruz, and the city of Los Angeles, the jury rejected Cruz’s account of the shooting. Cruz has insisted that Mohammad Usman Chaudhry tried to attack him with a knife on a Hollywood street and that he fired his gun in self-defense. 

The jury will hear arguments beginning Tuesday in the damages phase of the trial to decide what monetary award, if any, Chaudhry’s family deserves.

The jury announced its decision after more than a day of deliberations. It found that Cruz used excessive force in the shooting and that he had acted in “a reckless, oppressive or malicious manner.”

At the time of the March 2008 shooting, Cruz was under investigation for an incident in which he allowed a teenage girl to escape his custody. Police officials concluded that Cruz had made false statements to investigators during the inquiry and fired him for dishonesty.

When Cruz filed a lawsuit to be reinstated, lawyers from the L.A. city attorney’s office filed court records in which it concluded that Cruz was without credibility. In the Chaudhry case, however, both the LAPD and city attorney’s office helped defend Cruz and vouched to the jury that his account of the shooting should be believed.

A spokesperson for city attorney’s office declined to comment.


L.A. defends officer who was fired for dishonesty

-- Joel Rubin

Comments () | Archives (24)

congratulations to the chaudry family for their brave struggle.

we need community control over the police: all-elected, all-civilian, police control boards.

Who's investigating the city attorneys office?

thank the mayor for bad cops. this mayor will put a gun and a badge on a gang member, and it appears he has many times.

Well at least the jurors have some sense.

Imagine that!

This sounds like it is a Civil Trial. I hope the jury got this right, LA juries are incredibly inept.

If this is true, then this cop needs to be tried in a Criminal Trial.

The jury found him liable................but L.A country residents pay for the damages.

"When Cruz filed a lawsuit to be reinstated, lawyers from the L.A. city attorney’s office filed court records in which it concluded that Cruz was without credibility. In the Chaudhry case, however, both the LAPD and city attorney’s office helped defend Cruz and vouched to the jury that his account of the shooting should be believed."

What a joke.

LAPD fires Cruz for dishonesty, but then tells the jury that they should believe this known liar's account of what happened when he killed an innocent man.

Just shows you how dumb these high school educated bozos, thugs, and liars are.

Purely unbelievable! Just before Chief Bratton left the LAPD, a federal judge has decided to end the consent decree, (a US DOJ) oversight over the department on the issue of police reform, in the aftermath of the Officer Rafael Perez corruption scandal case. And now the LAPD has this new case again, right after getting a clean bill of health from the U.S. DOJ. What is seriously wrong in this picture? We have a police department who fired an officer for criminal misconduct and for giving repeated false and misleading statements and then turns around and vouches and defends the guy's action and credibility in this shooting case. The federal court needs to reinstate the consent decree indefinitely.

congratulations to the chaudry family for their brave struggle.

what we need is community control over the police: all-elected, all-civilian, police control boards.

So, if the dirty cops lies to his superiors, he gets fired. If the dirty cop kills someone and lies about it, his superiors will also lie about it.

Even if they called him not credible before but, he is credible when he kills someone. Hmmmm.

So there you go again. Cops will lie so they can keep killing people. Other cops will lie for a known dirty cop when he kills someone. Why? So other cops can kill people when they want to without fear of consequences.

Well thank God none of this killing of innocent people endangered his hefty pension. As for the other cops on the job; you guys can be assured that when you kill an innocent or use excessive force, other cops will lie for you. Woo Hoo! So get out there and shoot the citizens who pay your FAT SALARY and fund your HUGE PENSIONS. And please feel free to retire at 55 and collect all those great benefits and 90% of you salary. And by the way, after you retire you can work part time as a cop and DOUBLE DIP.

What a great Scam and it's not even a very dangerous job compared to real physical jobs out there. Even the firefighters have got themselves into this great scam. You firefighters feel free to set fires and kill people too. Your people and the cops will lie for you too.

I walked passed an LAPD officer recently. He had a tattoo on his arm (aren't there rules against officers displaying tattoos?), a shaved head, a scarred face (like the remnant of a gang fight), and a mean, dirty look. Had it not been for the badge and uniform, I would have guessed the guy was a dangerous gang-member and felon. It is a real shame that LAPD has lowered it standards so substantially. (Of course, compensation has not correspondingly adjusted.)

Clem and common sense good posts,its time to end the police and there pensions and get real police who will do there job.get rid of all these cowards that are police now.

How can anyone conclude anything about whether the shooting was justified from this? Although I doubt an autistic man is very capable of attacking a policeman it could have happened, but there are no facts about this in the story at all.

All police department have bad apples, the fact that they weeded him out is to their credit. What is objectionable is that the LAPD and the LA City attorney defended and vouched for Cruz against the Chaudhry family lawsuit for wrongful death when they knew that Cruz was deceitful, something they proved just thereafter when they had to defend their dismissal of Cruz.


@jubilee shine

the Police Commission which oversees and controls every aspect of the police department is all civilian and appointed by our elected mayor.


read the court docket, former Officer Cruz was a 4 year veteran of the police department when he was terminated. He was not elgible and does not collect a pension. Officers are required to serve a minimum of 10 years on the force to collect 20 (yes, just TWENTY) percent of their salary, and the pension pensions dont start til age 50. Had former Officer Cruz served the required 10 years he would have been able to start collecting 18,000 per year after he reached age 50.......HUGE pension you say?

Just some facts for you both so you can be more informed.

We thought the City Attorney's office would be more honest under Trutanich. Same old, same old.

Why do we even let the LAPD patrol our streets? We should disband this morally bankrupt organization and find one that can actually provide security for once.

@ u know

Well said! It

Great News!!! LAPD is full of a bunch of liars, murderers, crooks & thugs!!! Get rid of all of those described above & we might not have anymore LAPD officers to patrol the LA streets!!!



so much hatred! tell us about the time the cops kicked your butt, this out to be interesting...

The LAPD hates people of color, as it has proven many times. The mayor of Los Angeles also hates people of color. Why else would a proven liar be allowed to murder an unarmed victim & get away with it, & be defended by the LAPD & the City of Los Angeles? Joseph Cruz: Guilty of murder!

How can people congratulate a family for winning 1.7 Million dollars on the loss of there son. No amount of money or sentencing placed on the Ex-Police Officer will bring him back. I am sorry for the family's loss but even more sorry that a person with special needs is wandering the streets at night with a knife. It seems nobody cared he was out in the streets at night, but of course they care now that they are been awarded 1.7 Million.

Shame on Los Angeles Attorney's office for defending a crook.
Does anyone in the LA Attorney's Office is responsible for defending a liar.

To those who falsely judge the men and women in police uniform. First to judge male police officer as a thug because of a tattoo on their arm just blows my mind. What if that officer were a female officer (who are just as equal, I have two daughters) would she be a thug? I don't have a tattoo but guess what our country "America" gives us the right "Freedom of Expression" to do whatever the hell anybody wants which is not a bad thing. I am sure if your daughter had a tattoo in Afganistan they would probably stone her. Don't judge a person because of a tattoo as anything. As for the scar on someone's face, we have heroes who have survived war hence (roadside bombs, accidents, GSW gun shot wounds, etc) and your'e misjudging them?


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: