The lawyer for the family of the late Manuel Levy “Manny” Loggins Jr. is disputing the Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) report justifying Deputy Darren Sandberg's fatal shooting of the U.S. Marine sergeant.
The OCDA report released Friday essentially concluded prosecutors could not convince a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Sandberg's actions Feb. 7 were unreasonable.
The Loggins family attorney, Brian Dunn of the Cochran Firm in Los Angeles, issued a statement to the media calling the OCDA analysis released Friday “one-sided.”
The findings “do not provide any form of rational justification
for the brutal killing of a dedicated husband and father in the
presence of his two young daughters, but rather, reflect a one-sided
analysis of the shooting deputy's version of events, without regard for
the abysmal tactical decisions underlying the deputy's tragic errors.”
Dunn, who has filed a lawsuit against the County of Orange over the incident, has also criticized authorities for their treatment of the Marine's 9- and 14-year-old daughters, who watched their father's slaying from the back of the family's SUV parked at San Clemente High School.
“Biased” investigators from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which employs Sandberg, are accused separating and interrogating the girls for 13 hours before they essentially got the answers they needed to clear the deputy, Dunn charges.
The OCDA used many of the statements the girls are claimed to have made to investigators to shape the report favorable to Sandberg, including: the 9-year-old saying her father ordered Satan away during an early morning family walk the day before at the same high school; both girls mentioning Loggins mumbled, acted strangely and was speeding during the Feb. 7 ride to the school,
with one saying he ran a red light just before entering the campus; and the
9-year-old, who had to be comforted by the 14-year-old during the standoff outside the SUV, fearing her father would get back in, drive forward and “go boom” into a building. Authorities quote her saying of the shooting: “I was afraid and I think the officer was, too. So that's why he
shot him, so we wouldn't get hurt.”
The sheriff's department, the union representing deputies and now the OCDA all agree Sandberg was protecting the girls'
safety when he took Loggins out with three rounds from his service weapon.
With criminal charges against the deputy now out of the question, the admissibility of the statements of the girls, given the way they were collected, will surely be a central issue in the litigation Dunn and the family have brought against the county.