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Man Shot in Cerritos in 2015 Suing L.A. County Sheriff’s

City News Service

Family members of a young father who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy last year in Cerritos when he allegedly used his car to try and run over the lawman sued Los Angeles County today.

The Los Angeles Superior Court suit was filed by Carla Wade, the mother of Nephi Arreguin, on behalf of herself and the decedent’s 5-month-old son, who is identified in the lawsuit only as N.A.

The suit alleges wrongful death, excessive force, assault and battery and civil conspiracy and seeks unspecified damages.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Deputies previously said 21-year-old Arreguin was shot and killed last May 7 on Pires Avenue as he attempted to run over the lawman. Deputies said they had been investigating reports of a suspicious couple knocking on doors in the neighborhood.

After he was shot, Arreguin’s car crashed into an electrical box, taking down a light pole and shearing a fire hydrant at Artesia Boulevard and Pires Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The lawsuit states that Arreguin was shot while he was sitting in the car and that he drove away “after being shot and suffering from the trauma and shock of a gunshot wound.”

Arreguin “was not armed and was not a threat to life or limb of any peace officer or bystander at the time of the shooting,” the suit alleges.

Protesters associated with the group Black Lives Matter went to Cerritos last Memorial Day and briefly stopped traffic during a march to the sheriff’s station in that city to voice their concerns about the Arreguin shooting.

Wade, who lives in Peoria, Ariz., used sign language to express her feelings about her son in news accounts broadcast after his death.

“He was a good man, he was a good person, he didn’t deserve it,” she said then. “Inside and outside, he was a beautiful person. He’s loving, caring, respectful and everything.”

  • Baptismal Party says:

    County Pays Family Injured by Deputies in Cerritos Melee
    September 30, 1998|BOB POOL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

    We know who Arthur Dole hopes won’t be dropping by when he hosts a big party celebrating the $25-million payment his family shared Tuesday: Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.

    The last time deputies attended a Dole family get-together they came waving batons and handcuffs and arrested 34 party-goers, prompting a lawsuit that resulted in the largest civil rights damage award against police in California history.

    The Dole family was in a celebratory mood as the county quietly settled the court judgment, with payouts ranging from $57,000 to $5.8 million.

    “We’re going to put on a big luau–one with a big Samoan pig,” said Dole, a 70-year-old retired electrician. “We’re just glad this is finally over.”

    Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear broke up a bridal shower at Dole’s Cerritos home in 1989. Eleven deputies and about 35 Samoan American party-goers were injured in the resulting melee.

    Criminal charges were dropped against most of those arrested, and the others were acquitted after jury trials.

    But the party-goers sued the Sheriff’s Department, alleging that they were brutalized or falsely arrested. A jury awarded them a record $15.9-million judgment in 1995. With accrued interest, attorneys’ fees and other costs, the award had grown to nearly $25 million Tuesday.

    “It was a nightmare. Our family was brutally beaten up. There was no reason for it,” said Emily Dole, tears in her eyes. She received cuts and bruises in the bridal shower altercation and received an award of some $1.2 million.

    The former professional wrestler, who weighed 350 pounds at the time of the incident and competed under the name “Mt. Fiji,” said deputies bragged during the raid about driving “the Samoans” out of the neighborhood where they had lived for 11 years.

    Sheriff’s deputies had contended that they were merely responding to complaints of a noisy party when they were set upon by rock- and bottle-throwing party-goers.

    After the arrests, then-Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner characterized those charged with felonies as “very large people” with a “mob” mentality.

    However, neighbors denied that rock-throwing occurred, and a videotape taken by one nearby resident showed deputies repeatedly hitting some of the party-goers as they lay handcuffed on the ground.

    The most seriously injured of the party-goers was David Dole, who received head injuries, a broken hand and damage to an elbow. His award was the largest at $5.8-million. “It feels weird. It’s a bittersweet victory. These deputies falsified everything and are still out on the street,” said Dole, 38, an advertising company supervisor.

    The family’s lawyer, Garo Mardirossian, voiced anger that none of the deputies were disciplined for their actions.

    “How many companies do you know of that would allow [$25] million in costs and not take action?” he asked. “It would be nice to see the Sheriff’s Department apologize.”

    Mardirossian said he first worried that he had taken on a case of “cops versus Samoans” that would be difficult to win.

    But the videotape, just as it did in the more-infamous Rodney G. King case later, was the turning point, he said.

    If Sheriff Sherman Block had appropriately and quickly disciplined the deputies, Mardirossian added, “we might not have had the Rodney King incident.”

    Several family members hope to buy new homes close together, said David Dole. They are now spread out from Carson to Huntington Beach.

    “We’re a very close family,” Arthur Dole said.