20191009-bc-shootinglawsuit

Attorney John L. Burris speaks about the federal lawsuit filed Monday against the city of Bakersfield and two Bakersfield Police officers during a Tuesday news conference outside the federal courthouse in Bakersfield.

A federal lawsuit filed Monday against two Bakersfield Police officers alleges they used excessive force in "one of the most devastating and awful" cases attorney John L. Burris said he's ever worked.

The two officers practiced poor judgment, used poor tactics and rushed to judgment, Burris said during a press conference held Tuesday morning in front of the federal courthouse in Bakersfield. 

"This is a situation where it was unnecessary to 'shoot to kill' these two young people," Burris said. "No officer's life was in immediate danger, and nobody else's life was in immediate danger." 

Burris' office represents Anthony Markis Ramirez and Marinah Renae Segura, both 23, who were shot by Bakersfield Police officers. The lawsuit is filed against the city of Bakersfield and Bakersfield Police Officers Ryan McWilliams and Isaac Aleman in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California. 

Burris is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for his clients.

Both officers are on modified duty and their work is confined to BPD buildings pending the outcome of an investigation by BPD's Critical Incident Review Board, said Sgt. Nathan McCauley, a spokesman for the department. 

He referred additional questions to the City Attorney's Office, which did not respond.

The lawsuit stems from the Feb. 11 shooting in the 2500 block of Kentucky Street in east Bakersfield, during which Ramirez and Segura were shot at while inside a car. 

Ramirez and Segura were suspected of a carjacking that occurred earlier in the day, according to both the BPD and the lawsuit.

Ramirez and Segura were being surveilled by McWilliams and Aleman, and they were seen getting inside a gray Mustang that was reported missing. McWilliams and Aleman drove up and blocked the Mustang with an unmarked Toyota, the lawsuit states. They then "rushed" Ramirez and Segura "with firearms (and) wearing plain clothes," the lawsuit alleges. Ramirez and Segura did not know at the time McWilliams and Aleman were Bakersfield Police officers, the lawsuit states. 

Nearly 15 rounds were fired into the car by the officers "without cause or justification," the lawsuit alleges. Ramirez was shot three times in the back and once in his side. He is now paralyzed from his armpits down and will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, the lawsuit states. Segura was also shot once in the arm. Both Segura and Ramirez continue to suffer from psychological distress and injury as a result of the shooting, the lawsuit states.

Ramirez and Segura are both charged with multiple felonies relating to the incident and are in custody at the Kern County Jail pending court proceedings. 

"We understand that our clients have accusations that have been lodged against them," said attorney DeWitt Lacy, who is also representing Ramirez and Segura. "And whether or not those will be found truthful is a matter to be determined in criminal courts, which is what law enforcement is supposed to do. It's supposed to bring them to justice, not to exact vengeance, which is what they did."

Mark Ramirez, Anthony Ramirez's father, expressed his discontent with BPD's actions.

"What the police officers did, it ain't right," Mark Ramirez said. "Now he's paraplegic and incarcerated. I just want justice for my son." 

(7) comments

BobPrange

Let’s not forget who is responsible for starting the chain of events. I would like to learn more about the “alleged” carjacking, the other “alleged” crimes, and how these “alleged” crimes no doubt negatively impacted the health and well-being of a victim or victims. Was the car taken by an act of violence? Gun point? Knife? Fists? Abusive language? The experience must have been terrifying for the victim(s). Any and all award money to the “alleged” criminals should be handed over to the original victim(s). It was their bad choices and behavior that started the chain of events.

Stephen

The practice of responding to unprofessional police behavior when it comes to bad people of making bad people rich accomplishes nothing positive. It doesn't correct anyone's behavior. It just makes bad people into rich bad people. This is an irresponsible use of public treasure that can be far better and more productively spent than turning known criminals rich criminals.

One thing that this now badly injured guy and his family should recognize is the fact they always had the option of behaving within the law. Had they a practice and history of behaving lawfully and responsibly this incident would have never happened. Soft hearted jurors when considering expenditures of public treasure need to keep in mind you can spend a dollar only once. Invest it in making a bad person rich or invest it in public infrastructure. We can't have it both ways.

Jack

I agree, completely ridiculous. But mark my words the city will cave and settle for several million dollars and the crooked lawyer will end up with most of the money and the dirtbags will get a little payout. They should adopt a no payout policy and fight these cases to the end no matter what the cost. Only way it will end

Patricia Edna

More criminals looking for a payday. Unbelievable

FGR2

I cannot believe two criminals of this magnitude would even think they could file a lawsuit. Give me a break. You’re in a stolen vehicle probably ready to commit another crime and you wonder why the police are after you. Excessive force or not, don’t break the law and the police won’t be after you. It’s that simple. I hope the city doesn’t settle.

Steelerman

People like you should stop trying to pretend that you actually care about the Constitution or BiIl of Rights. You obviously support excessive force and are naïve or ignorant enough to believe that police only go after bad people.

Veritas

People like you should stop pretending you understand what the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is all about. Just because a couple of ambulance chasing attorneys write something in a court filing and then give it to the media to print does not mean it is the truth. Two criminals with a proven criminal history got shot. If the cops were wrong then they should be prosecuted, if not then the perps got what they got. Either way, we as taxpayers should not have to pay them a dime. You don’t hear of a soldier getting a huge payday for being paralyzed due to friendly fire, do ya!

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