Luis Espinoza, 26, of Long Beach was struck and killed by a LAPD squad car as he crossed the street. According to the news report in the Daily Mail, Espinoza succumbed to his injuries after the horrific pedestrian accident, which was captured on dashcam footage released by Los Angeles Police Department.
Espinoza was crossing southbound on Century Boulevard at around 5 p.m. on Dec. 8 when the marked cruiser struck him. The officer, who has not been identified, “inappropriately activated her emergency lights,” police said. We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Luis Espinoza for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. They will be in our thoughts and prayers.
‘Serious Concerns’ Over Police Officer’s Behavior After LAPD Squad Car Crash
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement that he has “very serious concerns” regarding the officer’s driving leading up to this fatal pedestrian accident. The video released by the LAPD shows the unnamed officer speeding east on Century Boulevard with the flash and siren activated. The marked police vehicle struck Espinoza, who was running across traffic outside a crosswalk at McKinley Avenue and Century Boulevard, officials said. He was reportedly struck 75 feet outside a marked crosswalk.
The cruiser stopped right away, but the video’s timestamp shows that it took the officer more than a minute to get out of the car and run toward the victim. In addition to the surveillance footage, authorities also released images showing a substantial dent on the hood of the cruiser. The officer has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.
Moore told the media that the information they have gathered so far shows that the officer was not only speeding, but also inappropriately activated her emergency lights as she was driving on Century Boulevard. Los Angeles City Councilmember Dennis Zine, who is a former LAPD officer, told Fox 11 that the case raises several important questions. He said whether the pedestrian was crossing legally or not, the question was why the squad car had activated lights and sirens. The investigation is ongoing.
What is ‘Code 3’ and When is it Activated?
The activation of Code 3 in LAPD is governed by strict protocols aimed at ensuring the safety of both officers and the public while responding to emergency situations. Code 3 is initiated when officers need to rapidly and urgently respond to incidents that require immediate attention, such as crimes in progress, accidents, or situations where there is an imminent threat to public safety.
LAPD officers are trained to assess the severity and urgency of a situation before activating Code 3. This may include factors such as the nature of the incident, the potential harm to individuals involved, and the need for swift intervention. Once an officer determines that Code 3 is necessary, they can activate emergency lights and sirens on their LAPD squad car.
It is important to note that the LAPD emphasizes the responsible use of Code 3 to minimize risks associated with high-speed responses. Officers are trained to exercise caution and prioritize safety, taking into account traffic conditions and the potential impact on other road users. Additionally, LAPD policies likely outline specific circumstances that warrant the use of Code 3, ensuring a standardized approach across the department.
A Pedestrian Accident Involving the Police: Who is Liable?
In California, determining liability in a pedestrian accident involving a police officer is a complex matter, and it depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. Generally, law enforcement officers are not automatically exempt from liability when involved in accidents. They are held to a standard of care, and if their actions are found to be negligent or reckless, they may be held accountable.
Liability may hinge on factors such as whether the officer was responding to an emergency with lights and sirens activated, the officer’s adherence to traffic laws, and whether the pedestrian had the right of way. If the officer was acting within the scope of their duties and following established protocols in their LAPD squad car, the government entity employing the officer might assume liability.
However, if the officer was negligent or engaged in misconduct, the officer personally and the government entity employing them could be held liable. It is essential to consider the specific details of the incident, witness statements, and any available evidence to determine responsibility. Legal actions in such cases often involve a careful examination of the facts and applicable laws to establish liability and seek appropriate compensation for the injured party.
What to Do After a Fatal Crash Involving a Police Vehicle
Losing a loved one in a crash involving a police vehicle is an incredibly distressing experience. First, seek emotional support from friends, family, or grief counseling to help cope with the pain. In practical terms, gather information about the incident, including eyewitness accounts, the officer’s identity, and any available evidence. Consult with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney experienced in wrongful death cases to understand your legal rights and options.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. Your attorney can guide you through the legal process, help investigate the incident, and advocate for compensation for your tremendous loss. While pursuing legal avenues, it is also crucial to focus on self-care and emotional well-being during this challenging time.