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Suit Against LAPD Delayed Until Plaintiff's Own Trial Ends

June 11, 1996

A Los Angeles federal judge on Monday stayed a federal civil rights lawsuit against 13 members of a controversial Los Angeles Police Department unit while separate Ventura County charges are pending against the man suing the LAPD.

In April, Venice civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman sued 13 members of the LAPD's Special Investigations Section, alleging that they tried to kill Robert Cunningham in June 1995 after they tailed him and watched as he robbed a liquor store in Newbury Park.

The officers' lawyers contend that they fired only after Cunningham shot at them, and he currently faces charges of attempted murder in Ventura stemming from the incident. U.S. District Judge J. Spencer Letts said it was necessary to await the outcome of those proceedings because if Cunningham is convicted of attempted murder, there is no way that his excessive force case against the LAPD could go forward.

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