Jury awards over $10 million to family of Gilbert Flores, who was fatally shot by deputies

On Thursday, the jury found that officers Robert Sanchez and Greg Vasquez violated Flores’ civil rights by using “excessive and unnecessary deadly force.”

The jury ordered the two deputies to each pay the family $1,435,000 in compensatory damages. Additionally, Vasquez was ordered to pay $5 million in punitive damages and Sanchez $2.5 million.

CNN has reached out to the deputies’ defense attorneys for comment.

Months after the fatal shooting, a grand jury declined to indict the two deputies and they were allowed to return to work after administrative leave.
Sanchez and Vasquez responded to Flores’ home in San Antonio on August 28, 2015 for a domestic dispute call. Recordings of calls from 911 dispatchers released later that year showed that Flores’ mother had called authorities that day to report that he had hit his wife and had “gone crazy”, KSAT reported, affiliated with CNN.

Flores also spoke to dispatchers, asking if paramedics were coming and later saying he planned to die at the hands of police, according to the affiliate.

Authorities said when deputies arrived, Flores was armed with a knife. Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said the shooting took place after a “long confrontation,” in which deputies first tried Tasers and shields to ward off the knife from Flores. Both deputies fired their weapons, CNN previously reported.
Video shot by a bystander showed Flores having his hands in the air before he was shot. A second video, filmed by a neighbor and later released by authorities, also shows him raising his hands just before he was shot, according to KSAT.

Jurors in the civil case watched the bystander’s video during testimony, the affiliate reported. Vasquez, one of the two deputies, also spoke up and said he tried to defuse the situation, but Flores lunged at him with a knife several times and hit him with it, according to the report. ‘affiliated. “Things were going from bad to worse,” Vasquez said, according to the affiliate.

“The return of this verdict by a jury of our peers here in Bexar County demonstrates that we will not tolerate the use of excessive force that kills our citizens.” said Thomas J. Henry, an attorney for the Flores family, adding that without the videos of the shooting, the family “may never have gotten justice.”

“I hope this sends a message to all law enforcement in the United States that excessive force will not be tolerated,” Henry said.


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