By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 12/09/16 – 6:09 PM PST |
A jury awarded $110,000 plus undisclosed punitive damages to an Adelanto man shot by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies in a case of mistaken identity, the man’s attorney said Friday.
The jury, composed of six women and two men, returned their verdict Thursday in U.S. District Court in Riverside after deliberating two days, said Dale K. Galipo, the attorney for the plaintiff, Keivon Young.
According to the verdict form, the jury found that deputies Nicholas Tollefson and Justin Musella used excessive and unreasonable force, were negligent, and that their conduct was “malicious, oppressive or in reckless disregard” for Young’s rights.
Young, now 21, was 18 years old when he was shot by the two deputies outside his home in the 11600 block of La Paz Street about 9 p.m. Jan. 29, 2014. The deputies mistook Young for Robert Pope, a murder suspect they had been looking for during a sting operation.
Pope was subsequently arrested and now awaits trial for the fatal shooting of Ernie Sanders and the wounding of Summer Mattes in Apple Valley on Jan. 28, 2014. Pope’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 6.
According to a Sept. 30, 2015, report by the District Attorney’s Office concluding the shooting of Young was justified, Tollefson and Musella were part of a five-man team surveilling Young’s home when they spotted him lurking around neighboring homes, holding something in his hands wrapped in cloth, when they decided to confront him.
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