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Mother of autistic man shot by LAPD wins settlement

LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) headquarters sign
Eric E Johnson/Flickr/Creative Commons
The Los Angeles City Council agreed today to pay $950,000 to the mother of an autistic man who was shot and killed by police in 2010. Steven Eugene Washington was unarmed, though police said they believed he was reaching for something in the waistband of his pants.

The mother of an autistic man who was shot and killed by Los Angeles police two years ago will receive a $950,000 settlement, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted today.

Steven Eugene Washington was unarmed when police shot him March 20, 2010 in the 800 block of South Vermont Avenue. At the time, the Los Angeles Police Department said Washington was coming toward officers while trying to remove something from the waistband of his pants.

Washington was autistic and had learning disabilities, according to his family.

An attorney for Washington’s mother, Kathleen Washington, said the case represents “a tragic act of police misconduct.”

“We believe that the shooting of Steven Washington was unnecessary and unjustified,” attorney Brian Dunn told KPCC. “We respect the decision of the city council to resolve the matter, and sincerely hope that the resolution of this case will ensure that the shooting of unarmed civilians by Los Angeles Police Department officers will not be tolerated.”

Last year, the Police Commission, which is the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD, found the two officers involved in the shooting violated the department’s policy that governs use of force.

Following the shooting, LAPD announced officers would complete a one-hour training on how to handle situations involving autistic individuals.