The family of migrant farmworker, Miguel Moreno Torrez, served a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Fresno and the Fresno Police Department yesterday.
Torezz was killed by police in 2014 when him and his brother, Jose Antonio Torrez, got into a fight over family issues at their home in southwest Fresno. Police say Torrez had a knife and felt his brothers’ life was in danger when they shot him. Some witness dispute that and say the brothers were only fist fighting. Others say he might have had a knife.
The complaint claims Torrez was raising his hands as he heard unintelligble demands from police officers. In those seconds, 5-6 bullets pierced Torrez’ armpit. Another 4 shots hit Torrez in the back as he was falling down.
The Fresno County Coroner’s autopsy report shows Miguel Moreno Torrez was shot at least 15 times.
Deputy Police Chief Robert Nevarez said the officers at the scene pointed guns at Torrez and demanded he drop the knife.
Torrez, who recently came to Fresno from Mexico for work, didn’t speak English.
In June of 2014 the family responded to the shooting with protests. Chief Dyer said at the time that Miguel Moreno Torrez stood over his brother with a knife and threatened to kill him, and that’s when two officers shot him 15-16 times.
Chavo Romero, a paralegal for Segall-Gutierrez (the family’s attorney) said police “are painting it as if he (Miguel Moreno Torrez) was right over his (Jose Antonio Torrez’s) body, but they had kind of already separated.”
“We want to measure the police report to the actual evidence,” he said. “When we read police reports or listen to police officer accounts, we do not take that immediately as the truth. We measure truth based on evidence and testimony.”
In addition to civil rights violations, the family accuses the police department of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, violation of the bane act, assault, battery, and wrongful death.