Alfonso Cerda Sr., 45, was killed in an Inglewood car accident after a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s squad car hit and killed him as he rode his bike. According to an ABC news article, the fatal accident occurred on October 8, 2012 in the 3500 block of West 107th Street. Officials say Cerda was on his bike during the early morning hours when two deputies in a patrol car tried to contact him believing that he was carrying a gun. A short pursuit ended with the squad car and the bicyclist slamming into an iron fence. Cerda’s injuries proved fatal.
Cerda’s family is questioning the details of this bicycle accident. The sheriff’s department issued a statement that Cerda brandished a gun at the deputies. But the family says he did not even own a weapon, but carried a flashlight when he rode his bike. His son, Alfonso Cerda Jr. tells ABC News that his family is trying to make sense out of this tragedy. “How do you hit someone with a 5,000-pound vehicle? How does that happen?” he asks. They also say it was common for Cerda to be out at night picking up clothes and other items from trash cans, which he would later sell. The investigation is ongoing.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and friends of Alfonso Cerda Sr. who are grieving his loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to them.
Based on this news account, it is yet to be determined whether Cerda Sr. actually had a gun or any other weapon at the time, which may have prompted the deputies to give chase. There are several unanswered questions here. What is the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s policy with regard to bicycle chases and stops? Did Cerda carry a gun or did deputies mistake his flashlight for a gun? Was this a case of the police officers using excessive force on an unarmed suspect? Is an independent agency investigating this case?
Protecting Their Rights
In cases where excessive force or unwarranted force is suspected, families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. Where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship.