LOS ANGELES – The Board of Supervisors agreed today to pay out $1.6 million to the widow of an 80-year-old man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies serving a narcotics-related search warrant in Littlerock.
Tonya Pate, 50, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, then-Sheriff Lee Baca and several deputies, alleging that the June 27, 2013, shooting of Eugene Mallory was unlawful.
According to the complaint, a deputy obtained false information from a secret informant who had a “personal vendetta” against Mallory. Deputy Patrick Hobbs then allegedly lied to a judge in order to secure the warrant, saying that he smelled chemicals and believed methamphetamine was being cooked on the property, according to the plaintiff’s attorneys.
Deputies burst into the house without announcing themselves and found Mallory, a retired electrical engineer for Lockheed Martin, asleep in bed, where they shot him although he posed no threat, the lawsuit alleged.
Deputies denied Mallory was in bed when he was shot.
“The truth of the matter is a gentleman pointed a semi-automatic weapon at our deputies,” a sheriff’s spokesman said at the time the suit was filed.
Attorneys for Mallory’s widow alleged the shooting was “encouraged by an atmosphere of lawlessness within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” which they claimed was negligent in hiring and training deputies and deliberately indifferent to the civil rights of victims.
Pate’s attorneys said no trace of meth-related chemicals was ever found in the home, but the Sheriff’s Department alleged a marijuana-growing operation was discovered on the property.
The lawsuit also stated that the county coroner cremated and disposed of Mallory’s body at the request of out-of-state relatives, but without the consent of his widow.
The county denied the allegations leveled in the suit, but county attorneys recommended settlement, citing the risks and uncertainties of litigation.
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