DA's Charges in Kelly Thomas Case Prompt Families of Two Long Beach Men Shot by Police to Ask for Same Results

In the wake of Tony Rackauckas' decision to charge two on-duty policemen in the beating death of Kelly Thomas last week, families of two unarmed men who were fatally shot by Long Beach police officers within the past year are asking Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley to follow suit.

Long Beach police shot and killed Doug Zerby, who was brandishing the nozzle of a garden hose, which police mistook for a gun, last December. For more details on the shooting, check out the Weekly's post from December. 
Ismael Lopez, who was also unarmed, died at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Long Beach in late August. See the Weekly's post for more details and insight from Lopez's sister.

At 4 p.m. today, the victims' families, their shared attorney, Brian Claypool, and other community members will hold a press conference in front of the D.A.'s office in hopes of persuading Cooley to file charges against the officers. 

“They haven't even completed their investigation. They've been dragging their feet. Overall, there's some big problems with how the Doug Zerby case has been handled by the D.A.,” said Doug Kauffman of the Long Beach Campaign to Stop Police Violence, which organized the event.
In a written statement, Lopez's sister, Maria Macias, said: “The Orange County D.A. justly arrested the police that murdered Kelly Thomas. The Los Angeles D.A. should follow this example and arrest the cop that murdered my brother.” 
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, says it's  protocol to release their investigation sometime after they've received a copy of the police department's investigation, which they haven't, in either case. “We want to look at the entire results of their investigation to see if we need to do any additional investigation,” Gibbons says. 
Nancy Pratt, a spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department, says investigations into both the Zerby and Lopez cases are still ongoing. There are no timelines for when either investigation will finish up, Pratt says, as that “depends on the specifics of the cases.” 
Kauffman says he thinks Cooley needs to act soon. “I think it would behoove Cooley to press charges, cause the movement isn't going anywhere. Eventually the police violence is going to come to a head and the D.A. would have to face it eventually and we're saying he should do it now and do the right thing.”


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