LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies keep the peace after the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils to win the 2012 Stanley Cup Final June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The win is the Kings first NHL championship in franchise history. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)2012 Getty Images
The family of an unarmed man killed by Los Angeles Sheriff deputies after leaving his niece’s quinceañera party is demanding answers in the shooting.
The family of José de la Trinidad, 36, wants the FBI to investigate the shooting – claiming the killing was unjustified, and even accusing investigators of witness tampering, according to the Los Angeles Times. The family claims police pressured a witness to recant her testimony.
It's the classic 'He was reaching for his waistband' defense that is used any time an officer shoots an unarmed man.
- Luis Carrillo, the family's attorney
Although much is in dispute about what happened, this is not: De la Trinidad was in the car with his brother after leaving his niece’s party. His brother was speeding, but when police tried to pull him over he refused to stop.
De la Trinidad urged his brother to stop, and his brother let him out of the car but kept going. It was when the younger brother got out of the car that he was killed.
Police claim he was reaching for his waistband and, fearing he would take out a gun, shot him. The case is under investigation. But the claim of intimidating witnesses has been widely disputed, with investigators saying they have not even started interviewing witnesses.
Still, the family says the circumstances are sketchy, and they want justice.
"It's the classic 'He was reaching for his waistband' defense that is used any time an officer shoots an unarmed man," Luis Carrillo, the family's attorney, to the Times.
The brother, Francisco, was arrested after he crashed the car a few blocks away.
The shooting comes several months after several police-related shootings of Latinos in nearby Anaheim sparked protests.
José de la Trinidad leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.
"How am I supposed to explain to my daughters that their father was murdered by the police,” Rosanna de la Trinidad told the Times. “The people who they are supposed to go to for protection?"