Supervisors to vote on $25 million settlement for man with autism shot by deputy at Cudahy home, seen on bodycam video

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CUDAHY, Calif. (KABC) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on a proposed $25 million settlement for a man with autism who sued the county and two sheriff’s deputies, alleging he was left paralyzed when he was shot by a deputy in 2021 at his Cudahy home.

The shooting of Isaias Cervantes was captured on the deputies’ body cameras, whos video footage was made public.

Attorneys in the case filed court papers last year saying that a “conditional” resolution of the case had been reached, but no terms were disclosed. According to a staff report prepared in advance of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors vote, the settlement was being recommended “due to the high risks and uncertainties of litigation,” noting that “a reasonable settlement at this time will avoid further litigation costs.”

Cervantes’ attorney, community activists and family supporters rallied outside the Hall of Administration prior to the board’s vote, calling for changes within the Sheriff’s Department regarding responses to calls for help involving people suffering from mental health or other issues.

“It is about this larger systemic change,” attorney Austin Dove told reporters. “This action, regardless of what you say about the settlement, they cut their losses in this one. Because this family has been devastated beyond belief. And so going forward, we’re hoping that this A, sends a message to the Sheriff’s Department about how you’re going to address these issues, and B, let’s the county know that we’re watching you.”

Cervantes’ suit was filed in August 2021, alleging assault, battery, negligence, civil rights violations and other causes of action. The deputies named as defendants along with the county were David Vega and Jonathan Miramontes.

“Isaias Cervantes has lived a life riddled with mental disabilities,” his lawyers stated in previous court papers.

Criminal charges filed against Isaias Cervantes, a man with autism who was shot and left paralyzed by L.A. County deputies in March 2021, have been dropped.

Cervantes’ mother, Rosa Padilla, is his court-appointed conservator. Born 29 months prematurely, Cervantes was diagnosed at age 3 with hearing impairment and a year later was found to have a speech impairment, obsessive- compulsive disorder, social anxiety and other intellectual disabilities, according to his lawyers’ court papers.

The plaintiff’s attorneys further stated that their client has cerebral palsy. Cervantes was left paralyzed when he was shot at age 25 and bullet fragments remain imbedded in his back, the suit stated.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, deputies were called at about 8:40 p.m. on March 31, 2021, to a home in the 5100 block of Live Oak Street after a caller said Cervantes was experiencing a mental health crisis and causing a disturbance by pushing other family members. The caller also told a dispatcher that Cervantes had obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety and was hard of hearing, deputies said.

Two deputies approached the home and asked Cervantes to come outside with them, but when he declined, they entered the home and attempted to detain him with handcuffs, according to the department. An LASD bodycam video then shows an altercation involving Cervantes and the two deputies, with both body cameras falling to the floor.

One of the deputies can be heard in the video saying, “He’s going for my gun, he’s going for my gun,” and the other deputy can then be heard asking, “Does he have your gun?”

The first deputy did not answer and one shot is heard being fired. According to the lawsuit, Cervantes’ sister was the one who called 911 and she “plainly and specifically requested mental health support” for her sibling after telling the dispatcher her brother was deaf and disabled.

Vega and Miramontes were met on the sidewalk outside the home by Padilla and Cervantes’ therapist, the lawsuit stated. After Cervantes’ mother told the deputies that her son was afraid of LASD deputies because he believed they often harm people and he feared they would harm him, Vega’s demeanor became “noticeably more aggressive,” the suit stated.

The deputies entered the home, went into the living room, flanked Cervantes and told him to stand up. They began handcuffing him, causing him to turn away, the lawsuit stated.

Miramontes grabbed Cervantes around the neck and pushed him to the floor, causing Cervantes to lose his hearing aid, according to the suit, which also accuses Miramontes of falsely saying that Cervantes was trying to get the deputy’s gun.

The deputy’s holster has a dual safety lock system that prevents the gun from being removed by anyone in the position Cervantes found himself, the suit stated. Nonetheless, Vega, “encouraged” by Miramontes, drew his gun, pressed it against Cervantes’ back and fired, causing a bullet to tear through Cervantes’ lungs and spine, the suit stated.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office reviewed the shooting and declined to file any criminal charges against the deputy who fired the shot. An internal sheriff’s department investigation concluded that the shooting was within department policy, although the deputies “received additional training pertaining to the circumstances surrounding this incident,” according to a summary presented to the Board of Supervisors.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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