Judge Rules that Case of Mentally Disabled Victim of Shooting by Long Beach Police Can Go Forward

On Monday, September 25, 2017, a federal judge in Los Angeles California ruled that the civil rights suit for excessive force, brought by the family of a mentally disabled Filipino man who was shot and killed by Long Beach Police officers, would go to a jury.

On the evening of December 14, 2015, Mharloun Saycon was experiencing a non-violent mental health episode while inside of a Long Beach establishment - Looff's Lite-a-Line Casino Game of Skill, in Long Beach, California. While inside of Looff's Mr. Saycon was in legal possession of a small pocket knife, and while he was not threatening any person with the knife, or exhibiting any aggression or violence, his possession of the knife made customers nervous. Looff's staff called Long Beach Police for assistance with escorting Mr. Saycon from the establishment.

Long Beach Police Officers Robert Cruz and Vuong Nguyen responded to Looff's, and found Mr. Saycon passively sitting in a chair at the front of the business, with the pocket knife closed on his lap. Despite that, rather than deescalate the situation, Officers Cruz and Nguyen immediately responded with unreasonable force. Within seconds of arriving at Looff's, Cruz and Nguyen both deployed their tasers without warning-while Mr. Saycon remained passively seated. Cruz then brutally struck Mr. Saycon with his baton, and Nguyen immediately began to shoot Mr. Saycon with his service weapon. Nguyen fired eight shots in rapid succession, killing Mr. Saycon on the spot.

The officers and Long Beach filed a motion, asking the court to declare that they were immune from suit, and to grant judgment in their favor. The federal judge denied the officers' motion and ruled that they will have to answer to a jury in November, why rather than de-escalate the situation, they chose to brutally beat and kill an innocent mentally disabled man. Along with co-counsel at the firm of C. Joe Sayas Jr., HSR's Dan Stormer, Cindy Pánuco and Caitlan McLoon will try the case.

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