Lawsuit Alleges Deputy Body-Slammed School Janitor in Case Involving Fatal Shooting

A lawsuit has been filed against Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Ty Shelton and the Sheriff’s Department, alleging that Shelton body-slammed a school janitor months before fatally shooting a woman. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Palmdale School District, claims that Shelton should have recognized that the janitor, Eric Rios, was not the suspect he was chasing and did not pose a threat. The incident occurred during a chase of a different suspect who had fled into a nearby school.

According to the lawsuit, Shelton charged towards Rios, despite Rios yelling that he was not the suspect. Shelton allegedly slammed Rios to the ground, resulting in injuries described as “substantial” in the lawsuit. The Sheriff’s Department stated that Rios was wearing the same clothing as the suspect and matched his physical description, leading deputies to mistake him for the fleeing suspect. The department acknowledged that a use of force occurred but quickly determined that Rios was not the suspect.

This is not the first time Shelton’s use of force has come under scrutiny. In 2020, he shot and killed a man during a domestic violence call. Although prosecutors declined to file charges against Shelton in that case, they acknowledged that alternative options may have been available to him. Additionally, a deadly encounter with a Lancaster mother in 2019 also involved Shelton. The mother, Niani Finlayson, was shot four times through a sliding glass door by deputies who responded to a domestic violence call. A notice of claim filed on behalf of Finlayson’s family signaled plans to sue the county and the Sheriff’s Department for $30 million.

The Palmdale School District was not aware of the lawsuit and stated that it should have been filed on behalf of an insurance company rather than the district. The attorney who filed the suit did not respond to requests for comment. The district superintendent, Raul Maldonado, did not comment on the violent incident but mentioned that the attorney had been retained by the insurance company to recover the cost of the janitor’s workers’ compensation claim.

The Sheriff’s Department has faced previous scrutiny in the Antelope Valley, where a federal investigation in 2013 revealed a pattern of deputies using unreasonable force, harassment, and unlawful stops of Black and Latino residents. The department entered into a settlement agreement to implement reforms overseen by monitors, who have since criticized the department for delays in implementing required changes.

Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. This article provides more details about the lawsuit filed against Deputy Ty Shelton and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It sheds light on an incident where Shelton allegedly body-slammed a school janitor prior to the fatal shooting of a woman. The article offers additional context and information regarding the case. [Link to the article](insert link here)

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