UPDATE, NOV. 4, 1:11 P.M.: Family members, attorneys and community organizations are speaking out against the Long Beach Police Department and Los Angeles District Attorney, calling the DA's findings “a complete outrage.” They're holding rally today at 3:30 p.m. at the LBPD headquarters, 400 W. Broadway Ave., Long Beach. There, they will announce their next steps, including a demand for a federal investigation and the arrest of LBPD officers Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff, according to a press release.
Here's a statement:
It has taken nearly a year for the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles District Attorney to come to the incredulous decision that the shooting death of Douglas Zerby by veteran police officers Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff was justified to protect themselves and others.Doug Zerby however was unarmed and incapable of harming anyone due to a high level of intoxication. Police Chief Jim McDonnell openly admitted in a public press conference that officers had observed Zerby for many minutes and never announced their presence or gave a command to drop what he was holding–a harmless water hose nozzle.“This finding by D.A. Steve Cooley's office that Doug Zerby's killing was somehow 'justified' is a complete outrage. It does not comport with the norms of justice we hold so dear in this country or the civil rights and liberties we come to expect for all people living in the United States,” said attorney Ian Thompson.Organizer Doug Kauffman said, “We cannot let this deter us, we will keep organizing for justice for Doug Zerby. Long Beach police violence has continued unchecked for decades and the Long Beach police have an excellent working relationship with their cronies in the District Attorney's office. Really, they have worked together from the beginning to prevent the release of any relevant information in the case or a just ruling by putting countless obstacles in the way of the Zerby family and their attorney. This is exactly why we are demanding a federal investigation and the arrest of killer cops Ortiz and Shurtleff.”The community of Long Beach will continue to be unsafe as long as these criminals are allowed to walk and this is why the Long Beach Campaign to Stop Police Violence will continue to fight until there is justice in the Doug Zerby case and all other cases of police brutality in Long Beach. LBPD and the District Attorney have shown that they do not stand on the side of justice but instead on the side of cronyism, corruption, and violence. It's time the people of Long Beach take justice into their hands by joining this growing movement alongside the Zerby family.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 2 6:03 P.M.: In a report released today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced that Long Beach officers “acted lawfully in self-defense and in the defense of others” in the fatal shooting of Douglas Zerby, a man “armed” with what turned out to be a water hose nozzle.
The incident took place on Dec. 12, 2010, when police responded to a 911 call from a neighbor reporting a man with a six-shooter. Two officers, Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff, found an intoxicated Zerby sitting on a porch, holding what appeared to be a weapon. When he reportedly pointed the weapon toward them, the officers opened fire.
Separate “lengthy and arduous” investigations were conducted by the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The DA's office supports the Los Angeles County Coroner's findings that Zerby's arms were “consistent with someone having both arms extended straight out and pointing in the direction of Officer Ortiz at the time the shots were fired.”
“Sadly, we will never know for sure what prompted Mr. Zerby to raise his hands and point the object in that direction or what he was aware of at that particular time, but that action ultimately resulted in the officer-involved shooting,” Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell has said.
Ortiz is a 10-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department, and Shurtleff has been with the department for six years.
Family members have contended that the 35-year-old Zerby is a victim of police brutality and unnecessary use of lethal force, claiming the officers did not order him to drop the nozzle nor did they call for backup.