Civil Liberties

Police Department To Pay $6.5M For Killing Man 'Armed' With Water Nozzle

They could have gotten a nasty soaking


The family of a 35-year-old man who was shot to death by Long Beach police after they mistook a water hose nozzle he was holding for a handgun was awarded $6.5 million in damages by a federal jury Thursday.

After a day of deliberations, the jury found that two officers violated Douglas Zerby's constitutional rights and were negligent in the December 2010 fatal shooting outside his Belmont Shore apartment.

Attorneys for Zerby's son and parents argued that officers never delivered any verbal warning to Zerby and that it was a case of contagious fire where one officer fired by mistake, prompting another officer to shoot based on the belief he was under fire.