Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck on Saturday recommended that the city appeal a jury’s decision to award $5.7 million to a convicted felon left paralyzed in a police shooting after he was allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting, reports the city’s Times. Beck said the jury was not able to hear key evidence in the case of 26-year-old Robert Contreras, who was shot by police at age 19 and left a near-quadriplegic after trying to run away from officers responding to the drive-by shooting.
Among the evidence: the fact that Contreras was a known gang member, pleaded no contest to attempted murder for his role in the drive-by shooting, and a statement from another man in the van with Contreras who told authorities that Contreras left the vehicle armed with a gun, a Police Department statement said. “I am very disappointed by the jury’s award in this case,” the police chief said in a statement. The jury’s decision compensates Contreras for injuries he suffered in September 2005, when several officers responded to a report of a drive-by shooting. Two officers chased Contreras into a dark driveway after he bailed out of a van fleeing the scene. When Contreras allegedly turned toward them with an object in his hand, the officers opened fire. The object turned out to be a cellphone.