Chino, CA – The family of a drug-trafficking suspect who was fatally shot by Chino police officers during a raid has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department (video below).
The incident occurred in the 6800-block of Rockrose Street at approximately 3:50 p.m. on July 3, as the Chino Police Department (CPD) was serving a search warrant at a residence in connection with a drug trafficking and cultivation investigation, the agency said in the video release.
“These warrants are considered high-risk, because drug trafficking suspects are often armed and dangerous,” CPD Sergeant Nancy Franklin noted.
Bodycam footage showed the team as they knocked on the front door of the residence and announced that they were there to serve the warrant.
“Come out with your hands up or force may be used against you,” one officer commanded from outside the closed door multiple times.
The suspects inside the home failed to respond, so the officers forced entry.
They immediately encountered a 53-year-old woman, and escorted her out of the home, Sgt. Franklin said.
As she was being placed in handcuffs, one of the officers asked her if she spoke English.
When she shook her head no, the officer pointed out that she had just understood him.
“How many people inside?” he asked her.
“We don’t want to hurt anybody,” another officer chimed in. “Is anybody else inside the house?”
The woman refused to answer, and continued shaking her head no as additional officers shouted commands in multiple languages to anyone still inside the home.
As the officers systematically cleared the residence, several of them passed by a door before one officer “spotted a suspect hiding behind it,” Sgt. Franklin said.
“Let me see your hands, dude,” an officer said, just as a shot rang out. “Oh s--t! F--k – shots fired!”
It was unclear what occurred prior to the officer firing the round.
The suspect, later identified as 49-year-old Li Xi Wang, was struck by the bullet, and later died of his wounds.
Police did not find any weapons inside the residence.
The woman, later identified as Ai Yue Cai, was arrested on charges of grand theft and cultivating marijuana, the Herald News reported.
According to police, the duo also operated a second grow house in Fontana.
Investigators seized a total of nearly 1,500 marijuana plants and $35,000 in cash, Sgt. Franklin said in the video release.
They also found evidence of grand theft in excess of $105,000.
Wang’s family filed a $10 million wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the CPD on Aug. 27, the Daily Bulletin reported.
“He was just standing there,” attorney Brian Dunn told KCBS. “What could Mr. Wang have done to keep from being killed after that officer found him?”
Dunn said that Wang immigrated to the United States in 2005, and that he was working at the grow house to provide for his son.
“He’s not a drug dealer,” attorney Daniel Deng told KCBS. “He’s not a smuggler. He’s just a simple worker trying to make a living by taking care of marijuana.”
Deng alleged that the $105,000 police seized during the raid was nothing more than Wang’s “life savings,” allegedly from "taking care of marijuana" and not drug trafficking, according to the news outlet.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office will determine whether or not the officer’s use of deadly force was lawful, the CPD said.
CPD is also conducting an internal investigation into the officer-involved shooting to determine whether or not the officer followed department policies.
“It’s tragic for all parties whenever there’s an officer-involved shooting – for those involved and their families, for the officer, and for our police department,” Chino Police Chief Wes Simmons said in the video release. “We will continue to cooperate fully with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.”
You can watch bodycam footage from the scene in the video below. WARNING - Graphic Content: