Less than two years ago, actress Vanessa Marquez was shot by police in her Pasadena home, but it wasn’t until recently that the body cam footage of the shooting was released. Police had arrived at Marquez’s home in August 2018 after her landlord called 911 saying he was concerned about the actress’ wellbeing. When police arrived, they entered the woman’s home and found her lying in bed.
Marquez told police she had just suffered a seizure but did not want to go to the hospital, says TMZ. The source says that a mental health clinician spoke with Marquez for 30 minutes and officers told her they were “placing her on a 5150 psychiatric hold because she was a danger to herself and others.” Marquez refused to go and then pulled out a pair of scissors and a gun. Officers then drew their weapons and quickly backed out of the woman’s room.
One officer can be heard in the video demanding that Marquez drop the gun and you can hear her fire back “kill me.” Just a few moments later, Marquez comes down the stairs with the gun pointed forward. Officers immediately began firing shots, 12 in total, hitting Marquez several times. When cops recovered the weapon Marquez had been holding, they learned that it was a replica.
Officers rushed Marquez to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries. The source said that Marquez, who is best known for her role as Wendy Goldman on “ER” between 1994 and 1997, suffered from an eating disorder which is what triggered her seizures.
Was the shooting justified?
According to the D.A.’s Office, “officers acted appropriately because they actually and reasonably believed Marquez posed an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death.” However, TMZ did highlight in the video that the gun was “being pointed forward and down the stairs.”The Los Angeles Times did state, however, that the Los Angeles County prosecutors would not be filing criminal charges against the two police officers who fatally shot Marquez during the wellness check.
The Times highlighted that in 2019, Marquez’s mother, Delia McElfresh, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of South Pasadena seeking $20 million in damages along with burial and funeral expenses as she believes the encounter was “mishandled.” The status of that claim was not clear on Monday, says the Times.
Can I sue a police department if they fatally shot my loved one?
When an officer of the law feels as though their life or the lives around them are being threatened, they are permitted to apply a level of force they deem necessary. In most cases, when a police officer fears their life is in danger, they will apply deadly force. In the event an officer applied excessive force, meaning the level of the force they used exceeded what was necessary given the circumstances, then the surviving family of the deceased individual could potentially sue the police department with the help of a police brutality lawyer.