Student Accidentally Falls From Building, Cop Shoots Him to Death

Matt Reynolds | Courthouse News Service

2016/09/14

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Parents of a 20-year-old student who was shot to death by a Long Beach police officer have followed up a state court lawsuit for wrongful death with a second claim in Federal Court.

Feras Morad of Woodland Hills was shot multiple times by Long Beach police Officer Matthew Hernandez on the evening of May 27, 2015 in the Circle neighborhood of Long Beach. Morad had fallen from the second floor an apartment building into an alley on East 15th Street, according to the Sept. 9 lawsuit in Los Angeles Federal Court.

Morad was bloodied and badly injured in the fall. Hernandez approached Morad in the alley by himself in responding to a dispatch call rather than waiting for backup, Morad’s mother Amal Alkabra and father Amr Morad say in the complaint.

The young man, clearly disoriented from his injuries, was not aggressive and posed no threat, his parents say. The neighborhood, a haven for families and students, is a low-crime area, the complaint adds, and firefighters and paramedics were on hand to provide assistance to the officer if he needed it.

Morad had an unblemished record and no history of entanglements with law enforcement, his parents say.

Hernandez tried to arrest Morad by himself, the family says, growing frustrated when the wounded Morad was unable to follow his commands to stay on the ground. He Tasered the young man and then shot him five times, including two bullets at point-blank range in his chest, the family says.

As Hernandez drew his gun, bystanders yelled, “Don’t shoot!” and “He’s not armed,” according to the lawsuit.

Morad’s cousin Kareem Morad told the Los Angeles Times in 2015 that Morad was suffering a bad reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms.

“He needed help, and he didn’t get the help he needed,” Kareem Morad told the Times for its July 22, 2015 story.

Morad, described in the filing as a “stellar student,” was a runner-up in a national debate contest the week before he was killed.

On the night of his death, he had been studying at the apartment building with his friends and members of the debate team. He had accepted an offer to study at California State University Long Beach and was due to begin classes in the fall of 2015.

Citing press reports, the family says Officer Hernandez was placed on paid administrative leave.

In an interview, the family’s attorney Joshua Piovia-Scott said that as far as he knew Hernandez has not been punished.

“He continues to be a member of the Long Beach police department and interact with members of the community on that basis,” Piovia-Scott said.

The attorney, who said the family’s state court lawsuit is still pending, said three members of the Long Beach Fire Department had offered to help the officer and treat Morad’s injuries.

A Long Beach police report is under wraps because of a protective order in state court. But Piovia-Scott said that depositions with the three members of the fire department suggest there was no need for deadly force.

“The City of Long Beach has a pretty egregious record of unnecessary shooting and killing of civilians by their police force,” Piovia-Scott said. “I’m not engaging in hyperbole when I say this is the most egregious police shooting that I have ever seen and been involved in.”

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On April 23, 2015, a Long Beach police officer killed 19-year-old Hector Morejon, and in April 2014 Jason Conoscenti was shot by Long Beach officers as he ran down a staircase and away from a police dog, according to the new lawsuit.

The Conoscenti and Morejon families reached settlements totaling $3.5 million with the city after they filed wrongful death lawsuits.

“Hernandez’s actions, and those of defendant City of Long Beach, have devastated Morad’s family and left an entire community questioning the actions of a department whose cavalier attitude toward officer-involved shootings has become a troubling pattern,” the Morad family says.

They seek a jury trial and punitive damages for excessive force, failure to provide medical care and denial of due process. They are represented by Mohammad Tajsar with Hadsell Stormer & Renick, in Pasadena.

The Long Beach Police Department said it could not comment on pending litigation and referred Courthouse News to the City Attorney’s Office, which did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests for comment by phone and email.

Published by Courthouse News Service.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3669 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Prox

    Things like this is what makes me wish that an armed citizen would have shot the cop before he had a chance to kill this young man.

    • JaysenSpeek

      In a country so damn intent on keeping weapons in the hands of.. well everybody, how are there not more folks shooting back?

      • Difdi

        Because that belief you have isn’t true. Our government here in the USA seems to regard our Human Rights laws to be an obstacle that needs to be gotten rid of more and more these days.

        California is at the forefront of the government movement to strip the citizenry of all rights.

        • JaysenSpeek

          I wasn’t refering to government, i was refering to the highest armed population in the world. Your precious second amendment isn’t there so everyone can own guns, it is there specifically to rien in government (police) in times like these. Such a frigged up population.

          • Difdi

            By your “logic”, we don’t have freedom of speech so people can speak freely, we only have it so we can denounce the government.

            Sorry, you failed. Try again.

          • JaysenSpeek

            Read the second amendment dude, it isn’t my logic, it’s black and white.

          • Difdi

            I’ve read it, dude. It doesn’t say what you think it does.

    • Difdi

      Given that California does not recognize a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms at the state level (their constitution lacks any equivalent of the second amendment to the US constitution) and unless you are a millionaire, an elected official or a police officer it is all but impossible to get a license to carry a firearm in that state, any bystander who owned a gun would either have been on the cop’s side or would have taken too long to acquire and load a gun to be of any use in stopping the criminal cop from opening fire.

      California law does recognize self-defense and defense of others as valid uses of force, but they have removed all means of effectively exercising that right from the people in general.

      • Maryjbarton1

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      • Elizabethjhouse2

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  • Not pro Israel

    I believe that every American citizen who has the ability must be caring and armed at all times now. It is the responsibility of every carrying American citizen to stand by and monitor every interaction that we come across between the police and another fellow civilian. If we observe the police officer drawing his weapon about to kill a person we should draw all weapons on the police officer and let him have an opportunity to put his gun down it will have to come down to if we see you pull a weapon will shoot you first and then these pussy little m************ won’t come out anymore.

    • zero

      ‘Cos that’ll end well…

      • Lobo

        yeah if a fellow citizen can keep a cop from murdering another citizen it indeed WILL end well.

        • zero

          See that word ‘if’ there…

    • JaysenSpeek

      Actually its because everyone believes they have the right to carry weapons that has caused all these issues. In sane countries the police know that when they stop someone there is a 99% chance they are not armed, thus don’t approach with hands on guns. I would shoot fawkers too if i thought they had guns, and or be nervous approaching possible perps. As a population the smart folks need to unarm all the redneck gun toting pussies. Then maybe police could feel secure at doung thier jobs.

    • Rebecca Dawn Gillespie

      I think that x military is a lot to blame. We have militarized police because those guys we sent to fight wars. Well they shot an killed whoever. Now come back home an be come cops. You seriously think they don’t have problems because seems everyone seem to have STPD. am deems. The

  • nomardw

    This kind of brutality is a direct result of not placing any value on life other than the person doing the shooting. There are far too many Americans that don’t value any life other than their own. The police are the ever essence of these thoughts and beliefs. The police are trained to believe that each and every person the come in contact with is a criminal, period. They don’t value the lives of anyone other than their own, so if they think you are the slightest threat they shoot. That way, they can return to their own family with out worry about results of those actions that cost so, so many innocent Americans their lives.

    • Rod

      Ive been meaning to calculate deaths by cop, but been busy. Last i checked usin TheGaurdian, and killedbycops.net , it was 3.4 a day this year.

    • Rod

      Just did a count using just the Guardian. They have a count as 816 deaths so far. Devided by days is less than my old calculation. Now its 3.1 a day.

    • America just needs to be honest and admit that a cops life is worth more than yours. In fact just the possibility that a cops life might be threatened outweighs your right to live.

      • AllFaithLostInHumanity

        That is the dumbest most servile, boot licking, may I have some more attitude I have ever come across in the entirety of the time I’ve existed on this planet.

        • I didnt say that I agreed with that statement. However, for the majority of the copsuckers here in the US it should be mandatory.

      • AllFaithLostInHumanity

        I can’t believe that anything imbued with something as complex and magnificent as the human brain, could make such an insane and utterly brain dead supposition such as this. Even coming from a pro-cop standpoint…..

        • Lobo

          The proof is in the pudding- his statement was SPOT ON- I’m think you’re the one that may be brain dead- Michael isn’t supporting this reality he’s merely making the observation of what the actual situation is.

        • Is it not true in todays society? I certainly do not have a pro cop outlook but anyone can see that for all practical purposes that is the reality that we are living under. My statement merely proposes that we be honest about it.

  • Natural_Texan

    This guy is not a very sympathetic victim But he should not have been shot.

    • Exactly my thinking. This isn’t cut and dry, but tasered and shot? No, that’s too much.

    • Lobo

      oh gee he ate a plant so he forfeits his rights? Tell you what- you have a few drinks and you forfeit yours as well- deal?

      • Natural_Texan

        You’re reading a lot in to my comment that just isn’t there..

        Have fun, be safe.

  • Dakota Calhoon

    this is UNBELIEVABLE and PATHETIC that a law enforcement officer would shoot and KILL this distressed citizen that needed help. What kind of a country are you living in??? Why are you americans standing for this?? You are living in a NAZI military state!!!! It doesn’t get more real than this….

  • LFord

    Hope the family keeps up the good fight and sees this suit through until the end. Hernandez should not be forgotten. When and if he is eventually fired or quits and transfers to another department, his whereabouts and employment should be made known.

  • Marianne Neal

    He just put him down like an animal.

  • dilbert

    If I witness an un-armed man shot by a cop. there will be 2 bodies. None of them will be mine.