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Prosecutions demanded in deadly Long Beach police shootings

Ismael Lopez Supporters of two men fatally shot by Long Beach police demanded Wednesday that  Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley prosecute the officers.

The demands in support of Douglas Zerby and Ismael Lopez were made during a news conference outside the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles. The two men were slain in separate incidents in December 2010 and August.

The supporters, who included family members and activists, urged Cooley to follow the example of Orange County prosecutors who recently charged two Fullerton police officers in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas.

"Cooley must step forward and take responsibility in bringing about justice," said Long Beach activist Doug Kauffman.

A spokeswoman for Cooley, Sandi Gibbons, said the district attorney's office has conducted an initial probe of the shootings but that prosecutors are waiting for police to complete their investigations.

"We will very carefully review that," she said of the police investigations, and make a determination on how to proceed. "This is a process that is not done overnight."

Zerby, 35,  was in a seated position on Dec. 12, 2010, when he extended his arms while holding a gun-like object and pointed it at an officer, police said. He was shot in the torso with a shotgun and handgun and died at the scene.

Investigators later determined that Zerby was actually holding a black pistol-grip water nozzle with a metal tip.

Lopez, 29, was shot Aug. 26 after police were dispatched to an "unknown trouble" call.

During a chase, "the actions of one of the suspects caused one of the pursuing officers to fear for his safety and/or the safety of the other officers and an officer-involved shooting occurred," police said in a statement. Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene.

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-- Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Ismael Lopez, 29, is seen in a photo held by his sister during a Sept. 9 vigil in Long Beach.

Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times

 
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