SACRAMENTO, CA - The parents of a teen shot dead by Sacramento police last summer have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and police.
"Sometimes I feel like not being here anymore," Mother Adelaida Herrera said. "Today, I went to the cemetery and I was talking to him," Herrera cried. "Why mijo, why? why you're not with mommy anymore?"
Ascension Herrera, Jr. 17, died after a Sacramento police officer opened fire on him on Teekay Way in south Sacramento on July 7, 2012. According to the police report, two patrol officers pulled over when they claimed they saw a man and Herrera walking and saw an illegal assault rifle partially hidden under Herrera's shirt. Officers reported Herrera appeared to point the weapon at one of the officers and the other officer shot him.
"In less than a minute, Herrera is then shot and killed," said Chuck Pacheco, who is the Herrera family attorney.
The lawsuit alleges that police actions were unprovoked and there are several witnesses to what transpired to support their claim. It also accuses the defendants acted out of prejudice because Herrera was Hispanic.
"I want to know why they made the contact," Pachecio explained. "Why they made the stop, and why do they go so quickly to the use of deadly force?"
The family said the rifle was not loaded.
"He was not doing nothing," Herrera said. "No harm. No nothing."
The Herrera family is seeking general, special and punitive damages. They also demand a jury trial.
The names of the involved officers were not released, but they were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation of the shooting.
Herrera's mother knows nothing will bring her son back, but she said justice will help ease the pain.
"I don't know why they have them work," Herrera said. "They can do something else to another kid or somebody else."