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Five former California cops who fatally shot black couple allege they were fired because they are white

What a mess

Image source: KNBC-TV video screenshot

Five former Inglewood, California, police officers are suing the city for allegedly discriminating against them because they are white.

The police officers in question were involved in the shooting deaths of a black couple in 2016, which sparked heavy outrage within the community.

What are the details of the suit?

The five former officers said that they were following orders of two Latino sergeants when they ended up fatally shooting the black couple, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The former officers who filed the suit in L.A. Superior Court last week are Richard Parcella, Jason Cantrell, Michael Jaen, Andrew Cohen, and Sean Reidy, according to KNBC-TV.

Zorik Mooradian, an attorney for the five officers, spoke with the outlet and expressed his concern over the department's chain of command.

"My question is why the commanding officers at the scene ... are still serving the police department and five young, white officers who were in harm's way and acting in conformity with the orders given to them were fired," he said.

According to the suit, the only officers fired were those five white officers who were connected to the shooting.

What's a brief history on the shooting?

In February 2016, the Inglewood Police Department received a report of a suspicious vehicle in the intersection of Inglewood Avenue and Manchester Boulevard.

When officers approached the vehicle, they found the couple — 32-year-old Marquintan Sandlin and 31-year-old Misha Michael — inside the vehicle, and unresponsive. A loaded semi-automatic handgun lay on Michael's lap while she was unconscious, and all doors and windows were locked.

According to the suit, all five officers witnessed the handgun, as well as both of the officers' Hispanic superiors.

The Times reported that the officers attempted to rouse the unconscious occupants for more than 40 minutes by knocking on the windows and trying the vehicle's doors and shouting.

After several attempts to wake the couple, one of the sergeants at the scene reportedly told one of the officers to turn on his patrol vehicle's lights and sirens. When that didn't work, another one of the sergeants was able to wake Sandlin by using the vehicle's PA system.

The sergeant ordered Sandlin to put his hands in the air, but Sandlin stomped on the gas and slammed into one of the patrol vehicles, which was parked in front of Sandlin's car.

After striking the patrol car in front of him, Sandlin threw his vehicle into reverse and slammed into another patrol vehicle, which was parked behind him.

Realizing he was trapped, Sandlin reportedly reached "right toward the weapon" that lay in Michael's lap, according to KNBC.

One of the officers discharged two rounds from his shotgun and struck Sandlin twice. Then Michael reportedly attempted to exit the vehicle and had allegedly reached into her lap where the gun had been laying.

A portion of the officers' suit read, "[Michael reached] directly to the position where the gun was located between her legs [and] all five officers perceived a threat to themselves or other officers and legally discharged their weapons [at Michael]."

"[B]oth occupants reached for the gun and were shot in accordance with use of lethal force as permitted under state and federal law," the suit added.

Sandlin was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries and later died. Michael died at the scene.

In May 2017, former Inglewood Mayor James Butts revealed that the officers were no longer employed by the city within the department.

Anything else?

Michael reportedly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.18 at the time of her death, and also allegedly had methamphetamine in her system.

Sandlin reportedly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.13 at the time of his death.

One last thing…
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