Jamar Nicholson, a Black teenager, was shot in the upper back earlier this year while one of his friends was holding a toy gun. Now he is suing the city of Los Angeles for $20 million.
“Jamar is really lucky to be alive. With respect to the other kids, they are lucky as well that they weren’t hit. It doesn’t appear that the officer who shot used a lot of [discretion] with where he aimed the pistol,” attorney Herbert Hayden, who is representing Nicholson, told Yahoo News.
Nicholson, 15, and his friends were standing in an alley in South Los Angeles before school on February 10. According to the LAPD, officers with the Criminal Gang and Homicide Division saw one of the teens aiming what seemed to be a gun at another person. “Officers ordered him to drop the weapon multiple times. The individual ignored the officer’s commands,” writes a news release.
In the lawsuit Nicholson claims two plainclothes detectives appeared without warning and failed to identify themselves before shooting at least three rounds of bullets. The court papers also say that after opening fire, said: “Get on the ground, motherf—ers.”
Nicholson also says there was no toy gun on display at the time. “The toy gun that the police officers say they think they saw was never brandished by any of the kids,” Hayden said.
One of Nicholson’s friends, 17-year-old Jason Huerta, has also joined the lawsuit.
The LAPD did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo News, but police spokesman did tell the L.A. Times that the officer involved has returned to full duty.