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Claim filed in shooting of suspect

first_imgLANCASTER – The family of an unarmed man shot to death in a fight with a sheriff’s deputy has filed a $2 million civil-rights claim against Los Angeles County, accusing the deputy of mishandling the situation and using excessive force. The claim accuses sheriff’s officials of wrongfully withholding information from the family of Clint Updyke, who was shot about 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 8 in a field after he crashed a car in an apparent road rage incident. “They get to investigate themselves to see if they’ve been bad and it all happens in secret,” said attorney Marc Grossman, who is representing Updyke’s wife, two children and parents. The deputy, whom sheriff’s officials will not identify, was negligent in allowing a confrontation with an unarmed man to escalate after first hitting Updyke with a baton and shocking him with a Taser electronic stun device, Grossman said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “How he ended up in an altercation, with a Taser and ultimately deadly force, is just crazy,” Grossman said. The claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, was filed Dec. 16 with the county Board of Supervisors. A Sheriff’s Department spokesman said the department will not comment on pending litigation. Grossman earlier filed two requests for information about the shooting, but sheriff’s officials ignored one and denied the second, he said. Sheriff’s officials will not identify the name of the deputy, nor disclose the names of witnesses, Grossman said. A sheriff’s official incorrectly told reporters the day of the shooting that Updyke had tried to hit the deputy with a large rock, but a coroner’s report said it was really a clump of dirt, Grossman said. Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials are reviewing the department’s investigation to decide if a criminal charges are warranted, officials said Wednesday. After prosecutors make a decision on criminal charges, sheriff’s internal affairs officials will decide whether the deputy violated department policies or procedures, a sheriff’s lieutenant said. The shooting will also be examined by the Office of Independent Review, an agency created in 2001 to oversee the Sheriff’s Department. Updyke, 26, was shot after knocking the deputy to the ground and while he stood or knelt over him, punching him, homicide Lt. Joe Hartshorne said. As he was being punched, the deputy told Updyke he would be shot if he didn’t stop the attack, Hartshorne said. The deputy had earlier hit Updyke with his baton and shocked him with a Taser, but that did not subdue him, Hartshorne said. “The deputy felt he’s losing the fight,” Hartshorne said. Two other deputies arrived after Updyke was shot and helped subdue him. Updyke died at a hospital. A coroner’s examination found traces of methamphetamine in Updyke’s system. Hartshorne said Updyke attacked the deputy as soon as the deputy got out of his patrol car, after witnesses pointed out Updyke as the man who minutes earlier had crashed a car in a drainage ditch and run off. The deputy radioed for other deputies to back him up but they didn’t arrive until after he shot Updyke, Hartshorne said. The deputy shocked Updyke when Updyke raised what the deputy thought was a large rock – but proved to be a dirt clod – over his head to hit him, Hartshorne said. Moments before the deputy arrived, Updyke had tried to force his way onto a school bus that had stopped to pick up students but the driver drove off, Hartshorne said. Sheriff’s officials had received several 911 calls after the 5:30 a.m. Nov. 8 crash on Newgrove Street near 30th Street West, Hartshorne said. One came from two people whose vehicle had been followed closely by Updyke’s compact for a couple miles before it crashed. Updyke had been passing the other car closely and then braking, Hartshorne said. Updyke’s car was behind them when it crashed. The people didn’t know of anything that might have provoked him, Hartshorne said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more