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DEA Must Pay $3 Million In 2010 Killing Of LA Teen

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dea emails marijuanaBy Phillip Smith

A federal judge Tuesday awarded $3 million to the family of an 18-year-old Los Angeles honors student who was gunned down by undercover DEA agents in a parking garage in 2010. But the judge also ruled the officers were not negligent in their actions.

Zachary Champommier died when he drove into a Studio City shopping center parking lot to meet a friend. Also in the parking lot were a group of undercover officers, including DEA agents and LA County sheriff’s deputies and LAPD officers who had been deputized by the DEA.

The cops were discussing a search warrant they had just served when they observed Champommier’s friend walking in the parking garage. Suspecting the friend was breaking into cars, they detained him. When Champommier drove up, he saw his friend being accosted by people he didn’t know and attempted to drive away from possible trouble.

Officers claimed that Champommier’s vehicle struck a deputy as he attempted to leave the scene. Officers opened fire, killing the 18-year-old honor student and “band geek.”

Both the DEA and the LA County Sheriff’s Department said the shooting was justifiable because Champommier had tried to run down an officer.

“The nature of [Champommier’s] aggressive actions, actually hitting the deputy — that is not someone who is without some degree of fault,” Sheriff Lee Baca said shortly after the shooting.

Champommier’s mother, Carol, filed a wrongful death lawsuit, charging that federal and local drug enforcement officers were reckless in shooting at her son, who she claimed posed no reasonable threat.

US District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald ruled that the DEA agents did have reason to believe they were in danger, but acted recklessly in shooting at Champommier’s vehicle as it passed them because at that point they were no longer in danger.

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5 Comments

  1. So how is this not unconstitutional from the get-go???? Don’t we, as Americans, have the basic right of not being harassed or detained under assumption? They said themselves they saw the kid walking and assumed he might be trying to break into cars. And maybe the now dead child assumed these unmarked assholes were thugs and he was trying to save his friend. What it what if what if? So that just makes it okay for the Agency and not for basic American civilians? I despise the way our government has separated itself from this country.

  2. I like others believe this is insanity on the judge. they were only in a dangerous situation because they choose to harass some teenager. not for what he was doing. just because one is walking doesn’t mean he was breaking in cars. that’s the problem in todays society. the law wants to look at everyone as a suspect. we are losing our rights in this country everyday. law enforcement as well as citizens have lose sight of what law enforcement jobs are. they are to serve and protect. which didn’t happen in this case they are murders in every angle. now if they would have said they were cops it wouldn’t of happened. this family wasn’t given nothing compared to what they lost, yet the criminals are free to continue to knowingly break the law with no regard to human life

  3. Does this make sense? The judge said the officers were not negligent, but awarded the family $3 Million? Wonder how much they would have received if the officers had been found negligent?

  4. Oh the irony. The LEOs are free to kill again. One scared kid gets dead. The parents get the money. The taxpayers foot the bill for everything. Isn’t our justice system great? Everyone gets screwed except the guys that are “just doing their jobs”.

    “…ruled that the DEA agents did have reason to believe they were in danger” and yet the kids that had all the guns pointed at them with thugs screaming at them were supposed to be models of self control and not panic at a perceived danger?

    I am almost as old as dirt and I can’t promise that I would not have floored the gas and tried to get away from a group of armed unknown people in an enclosed not so brightly lit space. Heck if I saw my friend being assaulted I might just use my car to persuade the assailants to back off a bit so my friend can get away …

    I always get told that cops have such a dangerous job and I suppose they do. My usual response is how many cops die by assault each year? How may people die as a result of assaults by cops? Justified or not is irrelevant. My point is that IF the cure is more dangerous than the disease maybe its time to find a new cure. Just use cannabis prohibition efforts and results as an example of “overkill”.

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