LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The family of a 25-year-old man with intellectual disabilities who was critically injured after Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies shot him at his Cudahy home called for justice Monday in downtown Los Angeles.
"We are hurt, we are angry," Yadira Cervantes, the man's sister, said. "My brother's not a criminal. We are not criminals, we were treated like criminals in our own house."
Attorneys said the family called authorities March 31 to help calm Isaias Cervantes, who is autistic, deaf and has intellectual disabilities. Attorney Austin Dove said Isaias was unarmed and, within three minutes after arriving at the home in Cudahy, two deputies body slammed him face forward on the ground and choked him.
"With all that, they're claiming that Isaias was trying to disarm them...it's physically impossible," Dove said. "And so within these seconds, he's shot in the back from point blank range."
Dove said the family told deputies Isaias was autistic, deaf and unable to respond to verbal commands and cues like other adults.
In response to the protest, LASD sent a statement that read, in part:
"All use of force incidents which result in injury are unfortunate. The incident involving Mr. Cervantes was captured on video by body worn cameras, which we will release publicly as soon as possible."
The Cervantes family and disability advocates want the deputies to be held accountable for the shooting and are also demanding reform to ensure no other person with disabilities ends up in a violent confrontation with law enforcement.
"So what we are hoping is that there are systemic changes, that instead of people having to call 911 when they're in distress, that they are able to get community sources and resources out there to be able to come and support families when they are in crisis," Judy Mark, co-founder and president of Disability Voices United, said.
"He was a young adult with the mind of a 6-year-old, very kind and loving," Yadira said of her brother. "And now we are his voice and his feet, and we are going to fight and speak for him."
LASD said the case will be reviewed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, which will determine if the shooting was justified.
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