Palmdale teen shot by deputy awarded $1.1 million

PALMDALE – Nearly four years after the original incident, Palmdale teenager William Fetters has been awarded $1.1 million in a case against Los Angeles County, after a jury determined that a deputy used excessive force.

The incident took place on May 10, 2009. A 15-year-old Fetters was riding a bicycle and playing with other children in the area when he was shot by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Sorrow.

Deputy Sorrow claimed in the trial proceedings that Fetters had a realistic looking toy gun which caused him to fear for his life, and the life of his partner.

According to Fetters’ attorney Bradley Gage, Fetters was directed to drop his weapon and complied quickly, but was still shot by Sorrow. A witness on the scene also testified that he did not see Fetters holding the gun when he was shot.

The jury awarded Fetters the full amount of his recoverable medical bills ($2,600), plus $1,125,000 in past and future non-economic damages, according to Gage.

“In addition to the monetary damages, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on whether Sorrow’s actions were with malice, fraud, or oppression,” said Gage in a press release. A mistrial was declared on that issue and a retrial should be set on April 15, 2013, Gage added.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore says the department disagrees with the verdict and it could be appealed.

Whitmore and the Sheriff’s department are disputing the plaintiff’s account, saying the toy resembled a real handgun and the boy was pointing it towards the deputies at the time of the shooting.

Defense attorney Catherine Mathers said there was no bullet hole found in Fetters’ shirt, and investigators concluded the bullet traveled through the sleeve, supporting the theory that Fetters’ arms were lifted when shot.

Whitmore defended Sorrow’s actions, explaining that the deputy was reacting as he was trained to do. Sorrow is still on patrol duty, according to Whitmore.

Sorrow was also involved in a case that awarded a plaintiff damages back in June 2011. The case involved a former Palmdale apartment manager, Noel Bender, and resulted in a $1.6 million settlement. Read the Bender v. County of Los Angeles County judgement here.

Mention of the Bender case was not allowed at the trial, but could be brought up during the retrial.

Today, Fetters has recovered from his injuries, and is working on completing high school.

  39 comments for “Palmdale teen shot by deputy awarded $1.1 million

  1. sammy P
    April 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

    if I was a cop, and I responded to this call – I would have stopped my car about 60 to 80 feet from the suspect, took cover behind my open car door and then ordered the suspect to drop the gun, and unless the suspect was a total retard who pointed the gun at me while running toward me, then no shots would have been fired. What many of you don’t seem to understand, is that some bad cops WANT to pull the trigger, they look for an excuse to do so when dealing with societies trash because in their mind they think they are doing good for our community.
    If that kid would have been killed, there would have been high-fives and congrats from some deputies for “taking out the trash” because thats how many of them think.

    The problem with allowing this is next time it could be YOU who gets shot. You might be walking out of your house with some gardening shears not knowing that Deputy Sorrow has been called to your street on a suspicious person call, then you come walking around the corner with your gardening shears, now you have just given Sorrow all he needs to jump out of his car, order you to drop the weapon, and then shoot you before you even have time to comprehend whats going on. He will just lie later on and say you came at him in a threatening manner, then they will go through your house, your pockets, your car and your life and if they find anything at all, 1 vicodin, a little weed, then you are now an Armed Drug Suspect. but even if you are squeeky clean, don’t matter, Sorrow will still keep his job and be waiting for the next opportunity to pull the trigger and take out the trash.

    Heres a joke i just made up –
    Q) How do you make an LA County Sheriffs Deputy cry?
    A) Tell him they are installing video cameras on their patrol cars.


    • dumbandblind
      April 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      A lot of people hate hearing the TRUTH! Way to go Sammy P.

    • KOUI
      April 8, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      I wasn’t allowed to give you a thumbs up, how strange.

  2. sad
    April 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    no matter if the cop was in the right or the wrong many people will always blame cops for whatever. tommy and jen make valid points but its easy to point the finger and that’s why not many people take your side.

    • NotAgain
      April 5, 2013 at 11:13 am


  3. justice4DLL
    April 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    No one deserve to die because officer’s are granted so much power. Officers killed my son in 2011 in palmdale, the pain is unbearable for a mother. The police is bullies period. They have to pay for all that they do,you can’t just kill and not suffer at all.

    • Palmdale_Diego
      April 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      How about a little detail on this incident. Why did the officers kill your son?

      • April 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        Just showed up and killed him? why didn’t you get pay dirt?

    • Letlow
      April 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Are you Darryl Logan’s mom? If so, I remember that incident clearly. Cops shot him 11 times in the back and said he was “reaching” for a weapon. Sorry that your pain is still so fresh. May you find healing and peace.

    • dumbandblind
      April 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Did you also receive a million dollars+

    • just me
      April 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      If this damn kid would listen and follow directions of the LAW he would never gotten a FLESH WOUND! LUCKY HE WAS NOT SHOT FOR THE KILL! Him and his Granny deserve NOTHING….she was at a attorneys office while the kid was at the hospital being seen….this is a friggen joke, she should teach him how to listen to ORDERS given by authority…..

      • :(
        April 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm

        jm what the hell are you talking about? WITNESSES say the kid dropped the toy gun IMMEDIATELY and was trying to get off his bike, LIKE ORDERED when shot. You’re just like the other vindictive creeps here, trying to hold a kid responsible for the adults in his life. Who cares what his dad did. Who cares what his granny did AFTER the kid was shot. Sounds like this young man has to worry about the sheriffs AND his family. Hardly the fault of a 15yr old.
        This officer was wrong. And not for the 1st time! I swear to God, it’s like you all really think no officer anywhere is every guilty for anything. Like they belong to some species other than human.
        The deputy was found to be in the wrong. Get over it.

        What do you cop groupys do when its cop on cop violence? Let me guess, whoever “SNITCHES” is in the wrong? Right? Got to keep from crossing that “blue line”.
        In the last week, we have “sexual in nature” complaint against a captain. Again.

        And 2 deputies lying about a arrest.,0,7112350.story

        You don’t do GOOD cops any favors when you pretend they are all above reproach. You insult those who protect and serve EVERY TIME you stand up for those who don’t.

        • girlindahood
          April 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

          :(, is that you Egberts?

  4. Kristl
    April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Really hope that kid puts the money away for his future or helps his family out with it.

    • Palmdale_Diego
      April 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Yeah….like that’s gonna happen.

  5. sammy P
    April 1, 2013 at 9:27 am

    The other case Sorrow was involved in was a beating of a man who was doing nothing wrong. These days I fear the Sheriffs department more than I fear the criminals. I would not call them unless it was absolutely necessary, it’s the only job in the world where you can be a total screw up and still keep your job. Too bad we can’t call 811 instead of 911 and have a few gang bangers show up to help us with our issues, then just pay them a few 40 ouncers when the issue is dealt with. I would feel safer that way.

    • Tommy
      April 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Do you even remember this story, or do you just come on here to bash law enforcment? Do you remember this kid was as tall as an adult and had a black toy handgun without the red tip, and that he was riding his bike down the street pointing it at car as they went by? many people were scared and called it in to 911, when the officer showed up he pointed at them and got shot, I know the family of this kid, they are dirtbags, do you know the kids father stabbed a 20 year old black boy last month and almost killed him and he is still on the run? do you know anything at all, or just make stupid statements like (These days I fear the Sheriffs department more than I fear the criminals) you’re right up there in the brain department with jury that gave this dirtbag all that money.

      • :(
        April 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

        So the kid’s dad is a ass, and thus the kid needed to be shot? Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. This Sorrows deputy was also reprimanded by the judge for witness tampering during the court case. He and another deputy were trying to harass jurors by talking to them in the corridors and in front of the court house. So jury harassment AND a second abuse conviction. Yeah right. Wonder how many misdeeds he has racked up that never made it to trial? Deputy Sorrows has now cost the tax payers over 2 million dollars. Yet he is still on patrol? What, exactly, does it take to get fired at the LASD?
        And let me get this straight, THIS TIME the jury got it wrong?

      • Gladys
        April 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        Hey Tommy, the JURY (not Sammy) decided to pay the kid. Funny how you agree the jury outcome is correct when it suits you and your friends.

        • Tommy
          April 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

          Really…What jury outcome are you referring to that I liked? And I didn’t say Sammy awarded the kid the money, what I said is Sammy is dumb enough to be on the jury.

          • Gladys
            April 1, 2013 at 11:22 pm

            So what your saying is anyone who is a registered voter or has a California drivers license is “dumb enough to be on a jury”? Don’t you think it’s your duty as a citizen (unless you’re illegal) to participate in the legal process if called to duty? Shame on you Mr. Tommy.

          • Tommy
            April 2, 2013 at 7:40 am

            Can you read? That is not what I said, and don’t put words in my mouth. You can’t answer my question so you try and make up new ones.

      • we care
        April 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        well thanks to the cop he went from dirtbag to dirty rich its good to know this kid wasnt paralized or anything in that nature and make good decisions on how he manages it.

      • just me
        April 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        yeah I remember it was a metal replica gun without the orange or red tip, dusk out and he did not follow orders givwn to him by the officers! I am tired of the county paying off people that are criminals or do not know how to follow directions…our cops need to be feared but NO they are branded as “legal thugs” if they rough up some low life that is doing wrong! hey I want millions maybe I should go do something bad and let the cops kick my ass and cry to a lawyer! just stupid!

      • whats it to you
        April 20, 2013 at 1:40 am

        wow how do you know so much about the kids father are you close to the family or something how did u find that out i didnt red that above

    • Don
      April 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Yeah the kids a real upstanding guy his profile picture is of pot.

    • Valerie
      April 3, 2013 at 4:53 am

      Sammy p know ur facts the beating of that hispanic manager off of 10 street east he was a victim of racial profile as for the boy that got shot it was on my street it was a summer night kids were playing with water guns a volunteer sheriff’s car passed and then the sheriff’s came and the boy was shot that’s what happened!!!!

    • my2cents
      April 3, 2013 at 7:52 pm


  6. Nikolas Malechikos
    April 1, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Why, exactly, does this deputy still have a job?! SMH

    • Tommy
      April 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Because he did nothing wrong.

      • :(
        April 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

        Did nothing wrong which time? The time he called the apt. manager a N***** lover and then beat him up? When he tried to intimidate jurors? Or when he shot a kid after the kid dropped the TOY gun and put his hands up?

        • Jen
          April 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

          Where you even there at the trial? He did not get reprimanded for trying to intimidate the jurors, he got reprimanded because the other lawyer made a big deal about him hugging his black wife and half black kids in the hallway with all the jurors present during a break. The lawyer was mad because he was trying to paint the Deputy as a racist. Like the above article said, can you explain how the shirt did not have a bullet hole? Family members and friends lie on the stand when free money from the government is involved.

          • :(
            April 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

            LOL Sure Jen. Staged “see I love the black folk” in front of jurors (funny how you don’t mention all of the remarks and locations of his messing with jurors)was nothing! Explain the bullet hole? You’re kidding right? Couldn’t have anything to do with the kid raising his arms AFTER dropping the TOY gun? Could ONLY be the KID raising the toy gun?
            Tell you what Jen. You believe the deputy? You pay the 2+ million this clown has already cost us!

        • Tommy
          April 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm

          :( your a fountain of misinformation.

        • Tommy
          April 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

          That is a total lie :(, the kid only dropped the gun after he got shot.

          • :(
            April 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

            “A witness on the scene also testified that he did not see Fetters holding the gun when he was shot.”

            Were you the witness Tommy? What’s your rank?

          • :(
            April 1, 2013 at 11:37 pm

            “Acted with malice”!!! If the jury in the Apt. manager’s case FOUND TWO OTHER DEPUTIES INNOCENT, yet still found Sorrows guilty, does that make the jury cop haters, or cop lovers?

            “On on May 10, 2009, Fetters—then 15-years-old—was riding his bike with his brother and friends, playing “cops and robbers,” on a residential street in Palmdale, when Sorrow said he saw the boy waving what he said he believed was a real gun.
            The “gun” was, in fact, a toy cap gun . But, according to Whitmore, it was minus the orange tip that representational-looking toy firearms are required to have, thus making it look real when seen quickly.
            [WLA obtained the photo above of Fetters’ actual toy gun, taken at the scene.]
            According to Fetters, he was riding his bike down the street toward a local baseball diamond, pretending to “shoot” back and forth with his brother and friends as they went. As the boys rode, Sorrow approached in his LASD patrol car and barked at Fetters to get off his bike and drop the gun. Scared, Fetters said he dropped the toy gun instantly, and tried to get off the bike, but the deputy shot him anyway.
            Sorrow testified to the contrary that Fetters was brandishing what appeared to be a real gun, which he did not drop at all, but instead pointed it at the patrol car causing the deputy to fear for his life and that of his partner. As a consequence, he fired a single shot at Fetters.
            The jury believed Fetters’ version of events.
            According to Whitmore, after the incident, Fetters was convicted of the misdemeanor charge of pointing a firearm at deputies. “And, don’t forget, both our internal affairs investigation and the OIR [Office of Independent Review] found the deputy’s actions within department policy.”
            Whitmore added, “This is not how anyone wants an encounter with a teenager to end.”
            Whitmore also noted that the judge in the Fetters case excluded Fetters’ misdemeanor conviction from coming into court, thus the jury was unaware of it.
            By the same token, the jury did not hear of another Palmdale incident also involving Deputy Sorrow that occurred in August 26, 2009, three months after the shooting of Fetters. This second incident resulted in Sorrow and two other deputies being sued by a local apartment manager, Noel Bender, for assault and battery, and civil rights violations. [See this Daily News story for additional details on that lawsuit.]
            In the Bender case, the jury also decided in the plaintiff’s favor, awarding Bender $581,000 for “false arrest, battery, Civil Rights violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress,” after acquiting the other two deputies but finding that Sorrow had acted “with malice.”


          • Tommy
            April 2, 2013 at 7:42 am

            :( type all you want everybody here knows you just make up stories, maybe you should write books.

          • :(
            April 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

            LOL I get it. Is that YOU deputy Sorrows?
            Make up stories? So, I made up the WHOLE court case did I? The shooting of a teenager? The beat down of a Apartment manager? 2 as in TWO juries finding Sorrows GUILTY in not one but TWO incidents? I give you sources to articles but they are figments of MY IMAGINATION?
            You are a idiot Tommy. And you obviously have a vested interest. So I imagine you are either Sorrows or another deputy that wants to make sure you and yours are NEVER held accountable.
            Tommy, YOU are the reason the people of the valley look at LASD as nothing more or less than a big gang.
            YOU are the reason people will look at good cops with suspicion. Always whining about other’s but refusing to hold your own to the letter of the law. God good, I hope Baca cleans house soon.
            Before people like Tommy turn the valley into a “us against them” war zone.
            The way it’s going now, no one wants to call you guys anymore. As people handle crimes in their neighborhoods without calling the LASD there will be personal cuts. Hope you’re the 1st to go!

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