The family of 18-year-old Andrés Guardado successfully won an $8 million settlement after filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County. On June 18, 2020, Guardado was shot 5 times and killed by two LA County sheriff’s deputies, who pursued him after he allegedly displayed a handgun and ran away from the auto body shop he worked at in the city of Gardena. However, the Guardado family’s attorneys have disputed the claim that he had any weapons on him, similarly to other cases in which police officers have unjustly killed unarmed Black and Brown men. In his pursuit, deputy Miguel Vega was the one that fatally shot Guardado repetitively.
“While the settlement reached with the County of Los Angeles brings closure to more than two years of the civil lawsuit, it does not bring with it peace to our family or justice for our son, Andrés,” Cristobal Guardado, Andrés’ father, said in a written statement as reported by CNN.
Guardado’s wrongful death came after the widely-discussed May 2020 murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer. This sparked both national and international protests illuminating the dangers and injustice that Black people and other communities of color face when interacting with police.
According to the Guardado family attorneys’ statement, the FBI and the LA County District Attorney’s Office are still investigating the shooting and haven’t yet revealed whether Vega or his partner “were within policy for their use of deadly force or if they will be disciplined and/or criminally charged for their actions.”
“Guardado refused multiple commands not to reach for a gun, forcing deputy Vega to fire his weapon in fear for his life,” Vega’s attorney Adam Marangell previously told CNN,
Weeks before Guardado’s murder, Erik Salgado, a 23-year-old Latino man, was killed by California Highway Patrol officers while his pregnant girlfriend was in the car, and in April 2020, 27-year-old Nicolas Chavez was also killed by police in Houston. Both of these investigations were dismissed, and the DA refused to file charges against any of the police officers involved. This disappointing sequence of events only further highlights a disturbing disregard of the racial injustice that Black and Brown men face at the hands of police officers.
“Peace and justice will only come when the current investigations are completed, and Deputy Miguel Vega is held criminally responsible for Andrés’ death. We will forever be grateful to our attorneys, our community, and to all of those people who have raised their voices as advocates for justice for Andrés,” Guardado’s family said in their statement.