LOS FELIZ—On Wednesday, December 2, Walter DeLeon released a statement indicating that he planned to sue the Los Angeles Police Department after he was shot in the head on June 19.
DeLeon was walking in the park, when he was shot in the head by Officer Cairo Palacios, when he refused to adhere to officers orders to drop a gun that was presumed to be in his presence.
LAPD Police Spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith stated that Officer Palacios and another unidentified officer were stuck in traffic when they say DeLeon approached them, rather aggressively. DeLeon had his hands clasped together with a gray cloth wrapped around them; officers suspected that he had a gun. He was shot after multiple orders were given for him to drop the gun, which he ignored. It was later discovered that he was not in possession of a firearm.
His attorney, Ben Meiselas, states that DeLeon had actually been trying to gain the attention of the officers because he needed help and the towel was just a sweat towel, which family members claimed that he always carried around due to the heat. No reason has been disclosed as to why Deleon was seeking help from the officers.
He spent five months in the hospital and has undergone a total of 10 surgeries. He lost a quarter of his skull, most of his eyesight and his ability to walk. He still retains most of his cognitive functions as well as his memory, but has trouble speaking. He currently utilizes the assistance of his family to take care of his daily needs.
Monetary damages being sought by the DeLeon family have not been made public, but the family is pursing criminal charges against Officer Palacios.
By Taryn Moore and Donald Roberts