Sonoma Deputy Who Killed Andy Lopez Faces New Allegations In Amended Suit
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The parents of a 13-year-old boy shot and killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy amended their federal lawsuit against the county on Tuesday.
According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, a 20-page document was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco alleging that Deputy Erick Gelhaus has a history of using excessive force.
Gelhaus shot and killed Andy Lopez last October after mistaking a toy gun the boy was carrying for an AK-47. The amended lawsuit includes additional claims for damages under state law.
Lopez’ parents initially filed a federal lawsuit against the county last November alleging civil rights violations during a time of widespread protests over the incident.
The Press Democrat reported that the family complained that the county was aware of Gelhaus’ alleged history.
In one instance, the family pointed to a 1996 instance where Gelhaus allegedly pulled his gun on a woman and her child in a neighborhood dispute. They said he also pulled out his weapon during a minor traffic stop just this past October.
Part of the lawsuit also accuses Gelhaus of racist and extremist tendencies and beliefs.
According to the lawsuit, Gelhaus, in his own online writings for firearms magazines, espoused “questionable” tactics, including how officers must respond to justify shooting a child with a toy gun.
The 24-year-veteran of the sheriff’s office told police he ordered Lopez to drop the gun then shot him seven times when the boy turned with the gun pointing in his direction.
County officials said they had not received a copy of the amended suit.
Sheriff’s officials declined to comment.
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