Lawyers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday against Pomona on behalf of the estate of a 30-year-old father of seven who was shot and killed by four Pomona police officers in January.
George Hernandez was killed after leading police on a 100-mph chase from Pomona to the Red Roof Inn on Holt Boulevard in Ontario. Hernandez crashed his car and ran from the officers.
Civilian witnesses told police they heard Hernandez tell pursuing officers, "I don't have a gun," but the officers said they heard him say that he did have one.
Officer Dennis Cooper reached for his own weapon but realized it had fallen from his holster, according to a report released Tuesday by the San Bernardino County district attorney's office. He ducked for cover and told three other officers to fire. After the shooting, police discovered Hernandez was unarmed.
"These four officers murdered my son," Hernandez's mother, Bonnie, said Thursday. "Is this what they teach in the police academy? . . . I want Officer Cooper to be convicted of murder."
The district attorney's office declined to prosecute the officers, saying they acted in self-defense.
"They whitewashed the shooting," attorney Arnoldo Casillas said Thursday.
Co-counsel Gregory Moreno said Cooper panicked because he lost his gun, and that may have precipitated the shooting.
"Not once did he point toward the officers," Moreno said. "This is a failure of proper tactics. . . . We cannot allow police to mete out justice in the street."
The attorneys are calling for a federal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office.
Pomona rejected a $5-million claim filed on behalf of the Hernandez estate.
City Atty. Arnold Alvarez-Glassman did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.