A Chinese immigrant fatally shot by a police officer at a drug raid in Chino, California this summer likely failed to understand commands during the operation, lawyers representing his family said this week.
Li Xi Wang, 49, hid behind a door during the raid at a Chino home on July 3, which was carried out in connection with an investigation on suspected illegal marijuana cultivation and trafficking, according to CNN.
The shooting, which was caught on video, shows an unarmed Wang hiding behind the door as officers forced their way in.
“I’m gonna… Let me see your hands, dude,” one said before firing at Wang.
It’s unclear whether Wang attempted to comply before the officer shot him. Now, his family has filed a claim for damages, stating that the 49-year-old did not speak English and therefore did not understand the officers’ orders.
Additionally, the family cited “a plainly obvious language barrier” between the officers and a woman, identified as Ai Yue Cai, who was also in the house and did not speak English. She was captured before Wang was shot.
The claim seeks damages in excess of $10,000.
“When he was shot dead, Mr. Wang was passively standing, was not holding anything in his hands, and made no physical movements which would indicate to a reasonable officer that Mr. Wang had will, or the ability, to physically injure any person,” it states.
“Mr. Wang was passive,” said lawyer Brian Dunn, according to The New York Times. “He had nothing in his hands.”
Wang reportedly immigrated to the U.S. in 2005 and worked various jobs to support his family in China.
“He did everything he can as a father, as a son, to take care of the family,” lawyer Daniel Deng said, according to KTLA.
He added, “He’s not a drug dealer, he’s not a smuggler. He’s just a simple worker trying to make a living by taking care of marijuana.”
The Chino Police Department seized nearly 1,500 marijuana plants, $35,000 in cash and evidence of grand theft in excess of $105,000 during the raid. They also discovered that the pair operated another marijuana house in Fontana.
In a statement on Wednesday, they offered condolences to Wang’s family and vowed to continue investigations.
“Our department is also reviewing the shooting from all angles and if we find any tactics, policies, procedures or other issues or actions that need to be addressed, we will address them,” the department said.