13-year-old from Los Angeles was shot by a police officer who mistakenly thought the boy was holding a real gun. The victim, Rohayent Gomez Eriza, was holding a pellet gun when the officer shot him leaving the boy paralyzed.
According to Reuters, Rohayent Gomez Eriza was shot by a police officer who mistook a pellet gun he was holding for a real firearm. The incident happened in 2010 – the bullet hit the teenager in the spinal cord leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
The incident occurred while the teenager was playing with two of his friends. His family filed a lawsuit in 2011, arguing that the officer used excessive force and this permanently harmed the boy both physically and psychologically.
The jury awarded the family $24 million in 2012; however, the city appealed the decision and later the two sides agreed on a $15 million settlement.
Gomez Eriza was holding a replica 9 millimeter Berretta handgun when he was shot the evening of Dec. 16, 2010, while playing with two friends who also had pellet guns.
According the police department, the two patrol officers approached the youths and Gomez Eriza pulled the gun from his pocket before Abarca fired the shot.
Attorneys for Gomez Eriza have openly criticized the LAPD for judging the shooting justified and said the boys were not engaged in any illegal activity when they were stopped.
Governor Jerry Brown last year signed the “Imitation Firearm Safety Act” which requires toy guns to be painted a bright color, or to feature florescent strips to make them easily distinguishable as fakes.