Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael P. Vicencia today dismissed a lawsuit filed by the brother of a man who was fatally shot by Long Beach police officers in August 2012. Judge Vicencia ordered judgment in favor of the City finding that the police officers’ use of deadly force was reasonable. “This was a good result for the City,” said City Attorney Charles Parkin. “Our police officers reacted to a life-threatening situation, and the court found they acted reasonably,” Mr. Parkin said.
Jonte House was a suspect in an armed robbery and was in a vehicle fleeing the crime scene. During the pursuit, one or more suspects fired gunshots from the vehicle at the officers. When the police stopped and approached the car, Jonte House disobeyed police officers’ commands to keep his hands up and in view, and instead lowered his hands to waist. In response, police officers fired at House. Jonte’s brother, Donte House, filed a lawsuit alleging the City was responsible for his twin brother’s death.
By granting the summary judgment motion, the case will not be tried before a jury. Moreover, since the City is the prevailing party in this action, the City is entitled under California law to have plaintiff pay the City’s costs of suit. The case was handled in the City Attorney’s Office by Howard D. Russell, Deputy City Attorney. Mr. Donte House represented himself in the action.