This is an astounding decision, as “qualified immunity” usually exempts LEOs from the consequences of their bad decisions.
“After deliberating for more than four hours, the eight-member jury returned a verdict that found both Vasquez and Sanchez liable for violating Flores' civil rights. Jurors also found a long-standing legal doctrine known as qualified immunity should not shield the deputies.
The jury awarded $1.425 million in compensatory damages against each deputy. Jurors also awarded $5 million in punitive damages against Vasquez and $2.5 million in punitive damages against Sanchez.
Wilson argued that testimony established that the deputies were no longer in imminent danger when Flores was standing still and raised his hands to surrender.
“You just don't shoot somebody when they are standing still and surrendering,” Wilson said.
Wilson and co-counsel Richard Hunnicutt accused the deputies of lying during subsequent investigations, such as Vasquez claiming Flores was advancing and 6 to 8 feet from the deputies when they fired. The family lawyers said the video contradicted the deputies and investigations determined Flores was more than 20 feet from either deputy.”
Neither deputy was criminally charged.