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$500,000 Awarded to Family of Parolee Mistakenly Shot and Killed by Live Ammunition

On November 9, 2004, the City of Redondo Beach was ordered to pay $500,000 to the family of a California parolee who was killed by police after being mistakenly shot by live ammunition instead of “bean bag” rounds.

Nathan Rossbach, a recent California parolee, led police on a high speed chase on October 6, 2002. Rossbach’s vehicle was eventually disabled after police used spike strips to blow out Rossbach’s tired. Rossbach eventually exited his vehicle, but remained noncompliant with police commands. An officer involved in the chase asked another officer for a shotgun loaded with bean bag rounds. At the time, shotguns with beanbag rounds were marked with thin strips of yellow tape on the barrel and butt of the gun.

The officer shot Rossbach, but the weapon discharged live ammunition instead of bean bag rounds, killing Rossbach instantly. Apparently, the glow of yellow emergency lights on the weapon caused the officer to believe he had a shotgun loaded with bean bag rounds.

Following a trial in the mater, Rossbach’s sisters were awarded $500,000. The City of Redondo Beach has since more clearly marked its weapons loaded with bean bag rounds. The plaintiffs were represented by S. David Rosenthal of Demas and Rosenthal of Sacramento, California. See: Rossbach v. Strosnider, USDC, C.D. Cal., No. cv-03-8483 CAS (EX) (Nov. 9, 2004).

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Related legal case

Rossbach v. Strosnider

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