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A Jury Awards a Police Shooting Victim $11.3 Million

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In January of 2014, Hung Lam was allegedly shot by police and as a result became paralyzed and must use a wheelchair. Lam, a man in his mid-30s with mental issues, had been in his own yard holding a knife and threatening to hurt himself when a police officer said that she felt threatened and allegedly shot him in the back. The case has been in trial in San Jose, California, and on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the jury awarded Lam $11.3 million, to be paid by the City of San Jose.

The police officer who allegedly shot Lam testified that, although Lam first held a knife to his own throat, he then started walking toward her, sometimes forward and sometimes backward. She said that because he was still holding the knife, she feared for her life and fired her weapon.

A retired sheriff’s deputy also testified at the trial. The jury said that they believed his testimony. According to the retired deputy, the stabbing motions were only made toward Lam himself. In his opinion, Lam posed no threat to the officer who allegedly shot him.

When the incident occurred, Lam had just returned from two days of confinement in a psychiatric hospital. He was transported to his home, but Lam wouldn’t enter, saying someone was inside. At that point, Lam picked up a knife and caused neighbors to become concerned. One next-door neighbor called police and another attempted to calm Lam down from a distance of 10 to 15 feet. The neighbors claim that the police unnecessarily escalated the situation.

The jury found that unreasonable force was used, and Lam’s rights were violated as a result of the alleged police shooting. Damages were for pain, suffering, and economic loss.

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–Guest Contributor

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