Mistrial declared in lawsuit over Sacramento police shooting of troubled 19-year-old

Darell Richards
  • Darell Richards, 19, was carrying a pellet gun that resembled a handgun and was experiencing mental health issues when Officers Todd Edgerton and Patrick Cox shot him multiple times in Sacramento after they believed he pointed a handgun at another officer on Sept. 6, 2018.
  • It was claimed afterward that Richards raised his hands in surrender before he was shot.
  • The lawyers for Richard’s family said that police violated their policies when they failed to bring in a negotiation team to defuse the situation.
  • The body camera footage police released did not definitively show Richards pointing his pellet gun at officers. Edgerton claimed that his body camera did not record the incident because it was turned off accidentally.
  • The trial for the case started last week, and after four days of deliberation, the jury deadlocked on Monday, leading Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to declare a mistrial.

Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez declared a mistrial in the Sacramento police shooting lawsuit over the death of 19-year-old Darell Richards in California. 

Richards, a Black and Hmong man suspected of being schizophrenic by his family, was carrying a pellet gun that resembled a handgun when Officers Todd Edgerton and Patrick Cox shot him multiple times in Curtis Park, Sacramento, after they believed he pointed a handgun at another officer on Sept. 6, 2018. Police were reportedly aware that he had mental health issues and might be suicidal, reported the Sacramento Bee.

Shortly before midnight on Sept. 5, Richards dropped his backpack and climbed over the fence of a home on 20th Street when he was spotted by police. In the bag, officers found a receipt from a sporting goods company for the pellet gun. 

The incident led police on a four-hour manhunt from Broadway and 16th Street to 20th Street and First Avenue before police found him under a stairwell wearing a surgical mask. He was shot by two officers and died at the scene from gunshot wounds to his body.

The body camera footage police released did not definitively show the 19-year-old pointing his pellet gun at officers. Edgerton claimed that his body camera did not record the incident because it was turned off accidentally.

It was claimed afterward that Richards raised his hands in surrender before he was shot. The lawyers for Richard’s family said that police violated their policies when they failed to bring in a negotiation team to defuse the situation. 

The trial for the case started last week, and after four days of deliberation, the four-man and four-woman jury deadlocked on Monday, leading Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to declare a mistrial. 

The jurors could not agree on the claims made against the police, which means the case may have to be tried again if a settlement cannot be reached.

“We appreciate the jury’s work on the case, and understand it was a tough case to get a verdict on,” Deputy City Attorney Sean Richmond said. “We respect the conclusion of the jury.”

Khoua Vang, the mother of Richards, had to leave the courtroom twice in tears as videos of her son’s death were played. Adante Pointer and Melissa Nold, two of the family’s attorneys, said that they will pursue a new trial if no resolution is reached with city officials.

“That life was cut short because these defendants… they failed in their duty,” Pointer reportedly told the jury. “They failed in their duty to the public, to the department and to Darell and his family.”

“Sometimes people come together and are able to resolve a case, but we’re still ready to fight,” Pointer said afterwards. “We came here to get justice for this family, and that mission hasn’t changed.”

Vang, who believes the jury had already made up their minds before the trial, is thankful for another opportunity to fight for her son’s case. 

“At the end of the day it didn’t matter how good or how many facts were proven. It all lies in the hands of the jury and I knew the majority were undercover bias,” Vang said. “A lot of people are for the police until it happens to one of their loved ones.”

“They already silenced my son, they will not silence us,” Vang added. “They recklessly took his precious life then tried to criminalize his character. The fight continues and doesn’t end here.”

Mendez said he will handle the case if the lawyers ask to try again, according to reports. 

“I’ll go ahead and try it again because I know the case so well,” Mendez said. “This is an incredibly difficult case.”

 

Featured Image via Sacramento Bee

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