Did L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies make a fatal mistake in trying to stop a bike-riding suspect?
Or did they use their patrol car as a weapon in a deadly use of force?
The deputies were reportedly attempting to contact the cyclist, who they believed was armed with a handgun; a search was underway for the weapon, which was not recovered at the time.
And yes, they did make contact with the victim, who has not been publicly identified.
The Daily Breeze reports the rider was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital in full cardiac arrest. The paper says Inglewood police are investigating the incident; the sheriff’s department patrols in nearby Lennox, which is next to where the collision occurred.
There’s no word on how the collision took place.
However, it’s not unusual for police to use their doors or patrol cars in an attempt to stop a bike rider, not realizing that a simple bump can have deadly consequences for a bicyclist. Any physical contact with a moving bike should be considered a use of force, and subject to the same restrictions as an officer firing his gun at a suspect.
This is the 62nd bicycling death in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County; the victim is the first SoCal cyclist killed due to the actions of law enforcement officers in recent memory.
My prayers for the victim and his family.
Update: The victim has been identified as 45-year old Alfonso Cerda, a father of three who lived in the area where he was killed; he was reportedly on his way to a friend’s house when he was killed. No gun has been found; family members suggest he may have been carrying a flashlight.
According to LAist, authorities report the officers attempted to stop Cerda, who initially complied before taking off on his bike. They say he then pointed what the deputies thought was a gun at them; one officer took cover, while the other chased Cerda down with his patrol car, hitting Cerda as he attempted to get ahead of him.