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Family of man slain by L.A. County deputies to request FBI inquiry

November 19, 2012 |  7:21 am

The family of a man shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies earlier this month plans to ask the FBI to investigate his death, an attorney for the family announced.

The family's dispute with the Sheriff's Department will be outlined at a Monday morning news conference, including allegations that officials pressured witnesses to change their statements, attorney Luis Carrillo said.

Jose de la Trinidad, 36, was shot and killed by deputies just minutes after leaving his niece's quinceañera on Nov. 10. He was unarmed.

Officials say two deputies attempted to stop the car carrying Trinidad — which was being driven by his older brother Francisco — as it sped along Wilmington Avenue. Francisco de la Trinidad didn't pull over, and instead led deputies on a chase before abruptly stopping in the 1900 block of East 122nd Street in Compton.

Jose de la Trinidad "quickly" exited the passenger seat and lifted his hands, a sheriff's official said.

Authorities said he appeared to be raising his hands from his waistband. Believing him armed, deputies opened fire and fatally shot Jose de la Trinidad.

His family insists he was lifting his empty hands to his head to surrender.

"He was not armed, he got out of the car and put his hands up," said his wife, Rosanna de la Trinidad, adding that witnesses told her they heard as many as 14 gunshots. "He did what he was supposed to do, and now he's dead."

Sheriff's Department officials have released few additional details about the shooting and say the incident will be fully investigated by multiple agencies, standard protocol for all deputy-involved shootings.

Rosanna de la Trinidad said her husband was a "hard-working man who didn't deserve this." The couple's 6-year-old daughter was struggling with his death; their 3-year-old didn't understand what had happened.

"We were celebrating a special tradition, a big celebration, and then it ended up turning into a tragedy," she said.

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-- Kate Mather and Wesley Lowery
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