From [HERE] and [HERE] The family of a 23-year-old man who was killed after being pinned between a Metro Blue Line train and a platform during an encounter with police one year ago has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Long Beach Police Department.
Cesar Rodriguez died in a hospital on Aug. 29, 2017 after firefighters used airbags to extract him from the platform at the Wardlow Station.
Newly released video from the train shows Rodriguez and an officer in a struggle on the ground moments before Rodriguez is pinned, his legs hanging over the edge of the platform. A Metro fare compliance officer can be seen standing above them, according to the family’s attorney, Arnoldo Casillas.
Police said Rodriguez attempted to flee police after he was detained for not paying for his train ticket during an Metro fare compliance enforcement operation and for allegedly having drugs on him.
In a 14-page complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the man’s family claims Officer Martin Ron “intentionally threw or otherwise forcefully brought Cesar Rodriguez to the edge of the train platform, causing the lower half of Cesar Rodriguez’s body to extend into the path of the oncoming train.”
Rodriguez was conscious for the 25 minutes he was pinned, the lawsuit claims, “and forced to suffer immeasurable pain as well as the psychological trauma of experiencing and contemplating his impending death.”
The suit names the city, the Police Department and Ron as defendants, alleging officers who had recently begun patrolling the Metro Blue Line route did not receive proper training. Ron should have seen and heard the northbound train approaching during the encounter, the complaint says.
Rodriguez’s mother, Rosa Moreno, is seeking damages on claims of wrongful death, violation of constitutional rights, assault and battery.
Like all in-custody deaths, the incident is under review by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Police spokeswoman Nancy Pratt declined to comment on the allegations because the matter remains under investigation, deferring to the city attorney.
Jim Foster, president of the Long Beach Police Officers’ Association, said the union is “extremely confident that the investigation has shown the officer’s actions were reasonable and lawful. It’s clear that the suspect controlled his own destiny and intentionally tried to fight his way from the officer.”
On Wednesday evening, about 30 of Rodriguez’s loved ones gathered at the station to hold a vigil marking the one-year anniversary, Casillas said.
Rodriguez, who lived in southeast Los Angeles, was Moreno’s only son, he said.
“Police officers have the duty to protect you when they take you into custody and for this police officer to slam this kid to the floor at the edge of the platform as the train is rolling up into the station is mind boggling,” Casillas said. “I think a jury is going to be very, very disturbed by the footage … the value of a son is completely immeasurable and the family just wants answers.”
The family's attorney, Arnoldo Casillas, says the officer never should have tackled him so close to the tracks. "It's an example of just a complete disregard of safety," Casillas told CBS L.A.
The Long Beach Police Department says the officer is still employed with them but they can't comment beyond that due to pending litigation.
The police department maintains that Rodriguez accidentally fell during the struggle.
Rodriguez’s sister said it took months for the family to get the video. The footage was captured by security cameras aboard a Blue Line train one year ago.
“When we seen that video it was like a lot of the questions that we had as a family we were able to get them answered,” Evelia Granados told KCAL.
Granados also told the TV station how she feels about the officer going on with his life while her brother cannot.
“He has family. He is able to go back to his family. My brother didn’t make it back home,” Granados said.