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Mother of unarmed man killed by LAPD officers files claim for damages

March 31, 2010 |  6:06 pm
The mother of an unarmed man who was shot and killed in Koreatown earlier this month by Los Angeles police filed a claim for damages Wednesday, alleging that the slaying was unjustified.

Steven Eugene Washington, 27, was shot for no legitimate reason about midnight March 20 near the 800 block of South Vermont Avenue by two Los Angeles Police Department officers, according to the claim against the city and LAPD.

Eugene Washington's family ater his killing in Koreatown

The claim, filed on behalf of Kathleen Washington, seeks financial damages in excess of $10,000 for emotional distress from the loss of her son and for civil rights violations by the two officers. The claim is the first step in a process that could lead to a lawsuit.

The family said Steven Washington was autistic, had learning disabilities and was generally afraid of strangers.

"The man they killed is a man who had led a peaceful, law-abiding existence," said attorney Brian T. Dunn, who represents the mother. 

Police said Washington reached for his waistband for what officers thought was a gun. The officers shot Washington because they feared for their lives, according to the LAPD.

No weapon was found at the scene.

Dunn said Washington had no criminal history or previous contact with police. "He always had the highest respect for law enforcement," Dunn said in an interview.

Since January 2007, more than 100 people have died in officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles County, according to a database by The Times' Homicide Report.

-- Robert J. Lopez


Photo: Members of Washington family. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times