A Rialto police officer fatally shot Anastacio Verduzco for allegedly charging at the officer, wielding a brick. The Los Angeles Times reports that officers have had several run-ins with Verduzco in the past, and that Verduzco claimed to have a gun and made threats before the officer fatally shot him.
According to the Times, the shooting happened while officers responded to a 911 disturbance call at Verduzco's home. When Rialto police arrived, Verduzco was standing in his front yard with a brick in hand. The officers ordered Verduzco to drop the brick, but after he failed to comply, the officers Tased him. Police officers reported that the Tasing was ineffective, and as Verduzco continued to charge at the officers, an officer took the fatal shots.
Police officers generally have broad powers to carry out their duties including taking fatal measures when necessary. In fact, police officers are usually immune from lawsuits for most job-related acts. This means officers usually can't be sued. However, there are limits on what acts the police can take and they may be liable if they behave willfully and unreasonably such as when they use excessive force.
Whether the officer's use of force was excessive or reasonable in the shooting death of Verduzco will depend upon how the surrounding facts and circumstances are interpreted.
On the one hand, Verduzco is a 45-year old man who charged at a group of well-trained and well-armed police officers with only a brick in his hand. On the other hand, Verduzco allegedly claimed he had a gun and has had a history of run-ins with the police before.
As is protocol, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is investigating the shooting and will determine if any actions regarding the use of excessive force will be taken against the officer who killed Anastacio Verduzco.
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