Family of Murdered Teen Files Death Suit Against LA County, Sheriff

LOS ANGELES—Relatives of a high school football player who was murdered, allegedly by an illegal immigrant, have sued Los Angeles County for wrongful death.Jamiel, Anita and Thomas Shaw, the parents and brother of Jamiel Shaw Jr., filed the lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The county, Sheriff Lee Baca and Shaw's alleged killer, Pedro Espinoza, are named as defendants in the suit.

The relatives also are alleging negligence, violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act and deprivation of civil rights. They are seeking unspecified damages.

Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for Baca, said he had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Shaw, a Los Angeles High School football player, was shot and killed on March2, 2008, allegedly by Espinoza, an accused gang member who was in the country illegally.

According to the lawsuit, deputies negligently released Espinoza from jail on March 1, 2008, despite knowing he was "a dangerous felon and an immigration violator."

Shaw was shot at 8:30 p.m. a day later in the 2100 block of 5th Avenue while talking with his girlfriend on the phone two doors from his home.

The lawsuit also alleges that Espinoza, a Latino, targeted Shaw because he is black.

Espinoza, 20, who is charged with murder, was scheduled to be arraigned June 30.

"Jamiel's Law" would have given Los Angeles police officers the right to arrest undocumented gang members before they commit crimes.

However, supporters of the measure did not obtain enough signatures to place the measure on the May city election ballot.


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