Deputies cleared in fatal shooting of man holding cellphone
The civil jury deliberated for less than an hour before its unanimous verdict in the 2009 death of Woodrow Player, 22.
According to an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department statement, deputies received a report from a woman saying her boyfriend had stuck a gun in her ribs and threatened to kill her.
En route, deputies spotted a driver matching the description and attempted to stop the car, which was driven by Player. He pulled into a liquor store parking lot on Berendo Street, according to the statement.
Instead of raising his hands, Player allegedly reached to the floor of his car.
He then appeared to comply with deputies’ commands and got out. But he ran across the boulevard and into an alley, twice turning toward the deputies and pointing a dark object at them, according to the statement.
Player's family and civil rights activists called for a federal investigation into the case. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge forced the department to reveal the names of the deputies involved in the case: Deputies Gonzalo Galvez and Michael Carpenter.
In a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the sheriff's department, Player's family accused the deputies of unlawfully firing at him and contended that they denied him immediate medical assistance after the shooting. His wife also accused the department of harassing Player since his acquittal on murder charges in 2008.
“The jury felt the deputies were extremely credible in their testimony," said Rickey Ivie, an attorney representing Los Angeles County, "[The jury] said the deputies exhibited bravery in pursuing a suspect who was believed to be armed with a gun.”
The verdict comes in the midst of an investigation into alleged beatings of inmates at the Men's Central Jail by L.A. County sheriff's deputies.
-- Sam Quinones
Photo: Woodrow Player and his wife, Tyisha. Credit: Family photo