With the County of Orange having rejected the claim filed by the family of the late Manuel Levi “Manny” Loggins Jr., the Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant gunned down by Deputy Darren Sandberg on Feb. 7, the family has now filed a federal lawsuit against the county, the sheriff's department and Sandberg.
Seeking an unspecified amount, the suit was filed on behalf of Phoebe
Loggins, the slain 31-year-old's wife, and their four daughters, two of whom were with their father when he was shot to death and another who was born about a month later.
The suit, which seeks “punitive and exemplary” damages, states that the girls who had been with their dad early that morning for a prayer walk around the San Clemente High School track were “falsely arrested and imprisoned by the Orange County
Sheriff's Department” for about 13 hours after the shooting took place.
Further, they “were not told they were free to leave,” according to the suit.
The treatment of Loggins' daughters–coupled with his shooting death–caused the girls and the Marine's wife to suffer “physical pain, suffering,
anguish, fright, nervousness, anxiety, grief, shock, humiliation,
indignity, embarrassment and apprehension,” states the suit, which was hammered out by the LA Cochran Firm staff of Brian T. Dunn, the family's lawyer.
Loggins drove his Chevy Yukon SUV with his daughters, ages 9 and
14, in the back seats that early morning of Feb. 7. The sheriff's department has released surveillance video from the high school of what they claim shows Loggins crashing through a gate. Dunn has said he sees a minor accident in the same tape.
The sheriff's department originally stated Loggins was pulled over
for a traffic violation and was shot outside the Yukon because Sandberg feared for his life. The department later changed the account,
saying the deputy watched Loggins crash through a school fence, get out
of the SUV and walk away for about five minutes with Sandberg following.
Other deputies arrived to comfort the girls, according to the agency, but Loggins got back
behind the wheel of the Yukon despite being ordered to stop. He was
shot while inside the vehicle because, the department now says,
deputies feared for the lives of his daughters.
The Orange County District Attorney's office is investigating the officer-involved shooting.
As the sheriff's department and deputies union have rallied around Sandberg, a decorated officer who also served in the Marines, and damned the actions of Loggins,
Camp Pendleton brass, fellow Marines there and family, friends, classmates and Marines around the country have stood up for the sergeant's character and offered their heartfelt condolences to the family.