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California: $125,000 Settlement in Wrongful Death Case; Police Shot Victim

In February 2010, the city of Huntington Beach, California agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Kenneth MacDonald and Lisa Marie Guy, the parents of Ashley MacDonald, 18, who was shot by two of the city’s police officers on August 25, 2006.

The officers were responding to a 911 call about a woman in a park carrying a knife. MacDonald had been out partying that night and had gotten into an argument with her mother. She poked her mother in the stomach with the knife and superficially cut her on the arms.

MacDonald allegedly ran toward the officers as they ordered her to drop the knife. She said “I’m on drugs, just ... kill me,” before approaching the officers, who shot her 15 times when she came within eight feet of them. The lawsuit also alleged that police investigators had illegally searched MacDonald’s home after she was killed.

“I don’t think the plaintiffs thought [the settlement] was fair,” said Jerry Sterring, the attorney representing the MacDonalds. “But they didn’t want another emotional blood bath. There were things that were so emotionally debilitating, and evidence that was so prejudicial that would likely come to evidence in a trial that they preferred to take care of it this way.” See: Guy v. City of Huntington Beach, U.S.D.C. (C.D. Cal.), Case No. 8:07-cv-00865-JVS-JC.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Related legal case

Guy v. City of Huntington Beach