Legal action is being taken on behalf of a 49-year-old Fontana man who was shot to death by an officer from the Chino Police Department during an incident in Chino on July 3.
Li Xi Wang was inside a house that was allegedly being used for an illegal marijuana grow when he was shot. He later died at a hospital.
Attorneys said on Aug. 28 that even though drug-related crimes may have been committed at the house, the shooting of Wang was unjustified, and they pointed to the recent release of police body camera footage which they said supported their version of events. Wang was unarmed, and no weapons were found at the location.
"It was an unlawful shooting, because the man that was killed did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to anyone, and that is obvious," said lawyer Brian Dunn of the Cochran Firm. "All of the other issues are secondary."
The incident took place at a house in the 6800 block of Rockrose Street. Officers went into the house after obtaining a search warrant and arrested a 53-year-old Fontana woman, Ai Yue Cai. The officers asked her if there were any other persons inside the house, and she shook her head no, the body camera footage showed.
But when an officer searched the house, he saw Wang hiding behind a door. The officer demanded that Wang raise his hands, but even though Wang apparently did not move at all, he was shot by the officer, Dunn said.
"This shooting violated every (police) training protocol that we have, as it relates to the responsible use of deadly force," Dunn said. "Mr. Wang was passive. He had nothing in his hands. He was simply standing there."
Dunn said that both Wang (a Chinese immigrant) and Cai did not understand English, which may have contributed to the difficulties that were experienced during the interaction with police.
Attorneys said Wang was hired to manage the marijuana house and had been living there for a few months. They said he was a friend of Cai, who was arrested on a charge of growing marijuana and grand theft.
Police seized 1,500 marijuana plants and $35,000 in cash at the house and also alleged that Cai and Wang were operating another marijuana grow house in Fontana.
The Chino Police Department said in a statement that it treats "any loss of life very seriously and we have personally shared our condolences with the Wang family."
The shooting is being investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.