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Civil Rights and Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Parents of Assaf Deri against Los Angeles and Burbank Police Departments.

LOS ANGELES -- Family Claims Police Targeted Deri Because He Looked Middle Eastern and Tried to Cover up and Justify His Killing with an Illegal Search of His Home

The Estate of Assaf Deri, Pinchas Deri and Yehudit Deri filed a civil complaint for damages today in Los Angeles Federal Court against the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank and their respective police departments for the wrongful killing of their son, Assaf Deri, on June 25, 2004, in North Hollywood, Calif. Plaintiffs allege civil rights violations, negligence and wrongful death, among other claims. Police officers Scott Meadows and Jose Duran are also named as defendants. The Plaintiffs seek a jury trial and damages, including punitive damages. The Deris are represented by Browne Greene and Robert D. Jarchi with the Santa Monica, Calif., law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP. The Estate of Assaf Deri, et. al. vs. City of Los Angeles, et. al., Case Number CVO6-0883 FMC(PJWx).

Per the complaint, Assaf Deri was driving his car on the evening of June 25, 2004, in the vicinity of 12828 Oxnard Street in North Hollywood, Calif., when he was rashly confronted by police officers Scott Meadows and Jose Duran, who were in plain clothes and driving an unmarked police car. They boxed Deri's car into an alley, never revealing to him that they were undercover police officers. Without provocation, officers Meadows and Duran fired multiple gunshot rounds at Deri while he was sitting in his car, killing him at the scene. At the time of his homicide, Deri had not broken any law, had not engaged in any illegal or suspicious activity and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Plaintiffs claim that in an attempt to cover up and justify Assaf Deri's killing, officers Meadows and Duran went to Deri's residence on June 26, 2004, without probable cause and without reasonable suspicion, hoping to find evidence of contraband or other illegal activities. Their search was fruitless and nothing was found. Pinchas Deri, who was visiting from Israel and staying with his son, was at home when the police barged in. The police, without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, used excessive force against Mr. Deri, handcuffed him and falsely imprisoned him for several hours.

The Deris allege that the police unlawfully targeted Assaf Deri as a criminal or criminal suspect based upon his perceived race, nationality and religion, ultimately causing his death. Plaintiffs also allege that both Assaf and Pinchas Deri were discriminated against because of their race and national origin (Middle Eastern) and their religion (Jewish) and/or their perceived religion (Muslim) in violation of their federal and state civil rights.

"The Los Angeles and Burbank police targeted Assaf Deri simply because he looked Middle Eastern," stated Browne Greene, "and used their superior force to corner him in an alley and brutally murder him while he was sitting inside his stopped car, alone and unarmed. Still on a rampage, they entered Assaf's home without probable cause to look for evidence that would somehow 'justify' his killing and provide a cover-up for their heinous crime but found nothing that they could use. Pinchas Deri was a guest in his son's home when the police made their unlawful entry, terrorized and roughed him up and without reasonable suspicion, handcuffed and falsely imprisoned him for several hours."

"The outrageous violation of the Deri's civil rights by the people sworn to uphold our laws makes a mockery of our Constitution," continued Greene. "Assaf was an Israeli veteran who served his country well, and to be shot down in our country when he was doing nothing wrong is a real travesty. Even though officers Meadows and Duran were apparently cleared of any wrong doing by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, we beg to differ with this decision and look at its 'investigation' as one of professional courtesy -- simply one hand washing the other. Our goal is to take this case to trial so that the real truth about what happened to Assaf and Pinchas Deri is told and that justice is served."

Editor's Note:

The Estate of Assaf Deri, Pinchas Deri and Yehudit Deri are represented by Browne Greene and Robert D. Jarchi with the Santa Monica, Calif. law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP; Tel: 310-576-1200; www.greene-broillet.com.

Pinchas and Yehudit Deri reside in Israel, and their Israeli counsel is Louis Garb with the Jerusalem law firm of Lewis Garb & Co.; Tel: 972-2-6528093.
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Date:Feb 15, 2006
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