Standing in front of police headquarters, family members of an unarmed college student who was fatally shot by a Long Beach police officer announced Wednesday they were seeking $28 million in damages.
Feras Morad, 20, a Cal State Long Beach student, whose family said was an aspiring lawyer, was killed during a confrontation with officers.
"For the life of me I still cannot understand it, I still try to reason with it, I cannot get over it,"Amr Morad said through tears, Feras' father. "How could this have happened to my son," he asked a crowd of reporters at a news conference during the announcement.
Officer Matthew Hernandez, a 12-year department veteran, was named in the May 27 shooting death.
Several dozen people marched to the Long Beach police headquarters June 4 in support of the student and called for national attention to the shooting.
Feras' family, through their attorneys, filed a tort claim against the department, the initial step in the proposed multi-million dollar lawsuit. They are also seeking to change policies and procedures in the department to avoid another death like their son's.
In a 911 call released, a caller described an intoxicated man who fell or jumped from a second-story window, bleeding and acting "kind of irate."
Fera's family said he was studying with friends when they took a hallucinogenic drug and he jumped through a glass window. They claim he needed medical attention but instead was fatally shot.
The police department said when they responded to the emergency call they contacted Feras who would not follow verbal commands. Long Beach police have continued to defend the officer's actions, saying he tried to subdue Morad by stunning him with a Taser and using a flashlight with force before using a gun.
Friends of Morad, including some who were with him that night, claim the shooting was not justified.
Hernandez was taken off patrol duty but remains a full-time employee with the department in the Investigations Bureau.
The shooting remains under investigation.