Household of slain El Monte cop information declare in opposition to D.A. Gascón, probation division
The household of an El Monte police officer who was slain this 12 months has filed a discover of declare looking for tens of millions in damages in opposition to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón and the L.A. County Probation Division.
Janine Paredes — whose husband, Michael, was one among two officers gunned down throughout a confrontation at a motel in June — filed the discover of declare Wednesday, blaming each Gascón’s felony justice reform insurance policies and lax supervision by the probation division for placing the suspected gunman, Justin Flores, within the officers’ path on the day of the lethal conflict.
A discover of declare is step one in submitting a civil lawsuit, which can in all probability be finished early subsequent 12 months, in response to the Paredes’ household legal professional, Mark Peacock.
The declare alleges Flores “ought to have been in custody on the time of the murders however for the deliberate indifference” of Gascón and the probation division, which allowed “Flores to freely roam and prey on these unsuspecting individuals who work and dwell within the Metropolis of El Monte within the County of Los Angeles.”
A documented gang member, Flores had a number of convictions for housebreaking and drug possession and was on probation when Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana confronted him on the Siesta Inn in June.
The officers had been responding to a home violence name when Flores emerged from a toilet and shot them each within the head, authorities have mentioned. Flores then allegedly raced into the car parking zone with one of many fallen officers’ weapons, the place authorities say he engaged in a firefight with different officers and was killed.
Within the days after the capturing, many in regulation enforcement turned their ire towards Gascón, claiming Flores would have been in jail if not for the district legal professional’s controversial refusal to file sentencing enhancements in opposition to defendants.
Flores, who was awaiting expenses on drug and gun possession in early 2021, was sentenced to 2 years’ probation beneath the phrases of a plea deal. Some have argued he ought to have confronted extra jail time for a previous “strike offense,” a 2011 housebreaking conviction, which may have resulted in Flores being incarcerated on the time of the killings.
Gascón mentioned the plea deal was according to these provided by prior administrations and famous the prior housebreaking crime was nonviolent. However The Instances reviewed paperwork this 12 months that confirmed the prosecutor on the case particularly cited Gascón’s coverage when submitting a report rescinding the usage of an enhancement in opposition to Flores. The coverage was later deemed unlawful by a Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom choose.
“Our hearts exit to the household of Sgt. Paredes. His tragic homicide is a devastating loss to each his household, buddies and the group he bravely served. We now have nothing however empathy for many who are struggling,” the district legal professional’s workplace mentioned in a press release Tuesday.
A spokesman for Gascón mentioned the workplace had not seen the tort declare but and couldn’t touch upon it.
A Instances investigation additionally raised critical questions concerning the probation division’s supervision of Flores. Within the days earlier than the killings, the probation division acquired stories that Flores had crushed a lady and was in possession of a gun, each incidents that might have resulted in his probation being revoked.
Flores’ mom additionally advised The Instances she referred to as her son’s probation officer in early June to report that he had relapsed in March and begged his probation officer for assist, however the officer refused to debate the case together with her.
The Instances report sparked an investigation by the L.A. County Workplace of the Inspector Normal, which later discovered probation workers had seen Flores in particular person only one time within the 16 months he was beneath county supervision. The probation division additionally fully misplaced monitor of Flores for 3 months in 2021, in response to the inspector common’s preliminary findings, and repeatedly did not provoke “desertion” proceedings that might have resulted in his arrest lengthy earlier than the murders.
The Flores case is the newest in a string of scandals for the probation division. On Monday, a Instances investigation detailed months of chaos inside L.A. County’s juvenile halls, that are overseen by the company.
“Whereas we can’t touch upon pending litigation, the Los Angeles County Probation Division continues to increase our deepest condolences to the households and family members of the 2 heroic El Monte Police Division officers,” probation division spokeswoman Karla Tovar mentioned in an electronic mail. “We assist and stand in solidarity with the El Monte Police Division.”
The Santana household will not be a part of the authorized motion, in response to Peacock, who mentioned Janine Paredes filed the declare to hunt accountability for what she sees as two arms of regulation enforcement whose failures had lethal penalties for her husband.
“After the murders occurred, everyone is leaping on Gascón and what he did not do, after which if you do a deep dive, you see the probation division had a possibility to get this man off the streets, and so they didn’t do this,” Peacock mentioned. “It’s an ideal storm … that resulted within the homicide of somebody’s husband and somebody’s dad.”
Instances workers author Richard Winton contributed to this report.