Fresno civil rights attorney plans to file claim against city over latest police shooting

Civil rights attorney Kevin Little, who is representing the family of a Fresno man shot and killed by police on March 4, said Wednesday he is planning to file a claim with the City of Fresno.

Little made the statement during a rally protesting shootings by police. Little was joined outside of the U.S. District Courthouse on Tulare Street by several activists including Gloria Hernandez and Dez Martinez.

Filing a claim against the city is the first step toward a civil lawsuit in federal court.

Hernandez said the shooting of the city’s citizens by Fresno police must stop.

She mentioned the recent conditional settlement the family of OIiver Hernandez entered into with the city.

The family sued the city on Jan. 1, 2020, alleging wrongful death, negligence, battery and violation of civil rights.

Officers with SWAT shot and killed the 29-year-old Hernandez on Jan. 5, 2019, after a roughly six-hour standoff at the Village Apartments on Ninth Street and Bulldog Lane. Police said he was armed with an ax, but his family said Hernandez was sitting down when he was shot and was not an immediate threat to anyone because he was alone.

Hernandez turned the rally’s attention to the most recent Fresno police shooting.

Officers killed Roberto Corchado on March 4 near Herndon and Ingram avenues. Police said there was an exchange of gunfire between Corchado and officers. Police said an officer was struck by a round in his bullet resistant vest, apparently saving his life, and other gunshots struck a police vehicle.

A preliminary investigation by the state Department of Justice didn’t come to the same conclusion.

“Although there was reportedly an exchange of gunfire, preliminary investigation indicates that the decedent was not in possession of a deadly weapon at the time of the fatal shooting,” said the statement from California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“We are gathered here today to mourn and grieve another stolen life and once again to ask the U.S. Attorney to investigate the pattern and practice of shooting unarmed people in Fresno,” Hernandez said.

Several of Corchado’s family members gathered at the rally with shirts showing Corchado on the front with the words “I surrender” and on the back, “And you still murdered me.”

Sylvia Aguilera, Corchado’s mother, confirmed Little is representing the family.

“We want justice,” she said.

Little said Corchado was shot in the back multiple times with his hands up and was unarmed.

“There was no legal or legitimate reason to take his life,” Little said.

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