News Alert!!: Downtown Barstow, CA: Federal court jury awards $33.5 Million to the parents of a man who was fatally shot by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy.
A federal court jury awards $33.5 Million to parents of a man who was fatally shot by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy outside of a motel in Downtown Barstow, California in November 2015.
** Picture from NBC affiliate KNBC Channel 4: **
The family of the man who was shot, identified as 29 years old Nathaniel Pickett, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 2016.
The jury found on Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 that San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kyle Woods unreasonably detained Nathaniel Pickett, delayed medical aid, and was negligent in use of deadly force.
The fatal shooting of Nathaniel Pickett occurred on Thursday November 19th, 2015 outside of the El Rancho Motel, located at 112 East Main Street, in Barstow, California.
Dominic Archibald, Nathaniel Pickett’s mother, tells NBC 4 News that, “My son did not commit a crime. He was not armed. He was 100 feet from his front door. All he wanted to do was go home.”
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Deputy Kyle Woods was forced to shoot Nathaniel Pickett after he began striking the deputy 10 to 20 times and refused to stop after resisting arrest.
Deputy Kyle Woods claimed Nathaniel Pickett was on methamphetamine, which later turned out to be untrue, tried to grab his gun, and that is when he fired two shots.
After the fatal shooting, Deputy Kyle Woods did not call for medical attention because he claimed that he did not realize that he had shot Nathaniel Pickett.
During the court trial, the plaintiffs proved by way of the physical, forensic, and medical evidence that Deputy Kyle Woods had not been struck 10-20 times by Nathaniel Pickett and that Nathaniel Pickett was not grabbing Deputy Kyle Woods’ gun at the time of the shots.
Surveillance video showed Nathaniel Pickett tripping as he ran from the Deputy Kyle Woods, and in the distance, the surveillance video appeared to show the Deputy Kyle Woods on the ground struggling with Nathaniel Pickett.
Attorneys for Nathaniel Pickett’s family said there was more to the surveillance video that wasn’t shown.
“In watching this video over and over we have discovered there are seconds missing. Seconds missing during the critical scenes where this officer and Mr. Pickett are actually engaged physically and where we believe Mr. Pickett was shot,” said attorney Sharon Brunner.
After deliberating for about 2 and a half hours, the jury rejected Deputy Kyle Woods’ story.
The jury award the family of Nathaniel Pickett was awarded $33.5 million in damages, which included $15.5 million in compensatory damages and $18 million in punitive damages.
The family of Nathaniel Pickett said he suffered from mental illness and called his shooting unjustified.
“It’s the highest verdict that I know of in the country for a police shooting wrongful death case,” said attorney Dale Galipo, who represented the family of Nathaniel Pickett.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement saying, “We strongly disagree with the outcome based on the evidence in this case. Our attorneys, the department and the county, will be discussing appealing the jury’s award.”
Reports that Deputy Kyle Woods continues to work for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Attorneys for Nathaniel Pickett’s family said Deputy Kyle Woods was involved in another shooting involving an unarmed man in January, but that man survived.