The December 5, 2017 settlement in the killing of Mharloun Saycon, a mentally ill Fililpino man, is among the largest in Long Beach history for a police brutality case.
On December 14, 2015, staff of Looff’s Lite-a-Line casino in Long Beach contacted police, stating that Saycon was in possession of a knife, and asked for help escorting him from the building. Saycon visited the casino often and staff and customers were aware of his mental disability.
Saycon was seated in a chair with a small pocket knife in his lap when police arrived, and he remained seated throughout the incident. Police escalated without assessing Saycon’s mental state, teasing him, hitting him with baton and then fatally shooting him eight times – all without provocation.
HSR attorneys Dan Stormer, Cindy Pánuco and Caitlan McLoon joined with Joe Sayas and Karl Evangelista from the Law Offices of C. Joe Sayas Jr. to represent Mharloun’s parents Ana Luz Saycon and Khanly Saycon in a wrongful death suit against the City of Long Beach.
“All we want is our son, who deserved to live,” said Khanly Saycon. “While nothing can bring him back to us, if this case saves even just one life by holding the police more accountable for how they treat people with mental illness, that’s the most I can hope for.”
“This settlement will not bring back the life taken,” said attorney Dan Stormer. “However, it testifies to the gravity of the case that the settlement is one of the largest in the City’s history for this type of suit.” Attorney Stormer also noted, “What we’re seeing in L.A. County is not a single officer gets prosecuted. Something has to give,” Stormer said. “We cannot simply give officers a badge and a gun and tell them that when they are scared they can shoot someone. There has to be accountability.”
“The case was hard fought,” said attorney Joe Sayas, “This small bit of justice for the Saycon family came only after a federal judge denied a motion filed by the officers and Long Beach, asking the court to declare that they were immune from suit.”
“A settlement of this magnitude sends a message to the City and its officers that it must improve tactics and training for officers who detect and interact with persons affected by mental health disabilities because mental illness is not a crime,” said attorney Cindy Pánuco.
Settlement Agreement — Saycon v. COLB-Release & Settlement of Claim.pdf