[UPDATED: Zerby's Supporters Outraged, Demand Federal Investigation] Cops Cleared in The Fatal Shooting of Douglas Zerby

Categories: Long Beach
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Zerby
​UPDATE, NOV. 4, 1:11 P.M.: Family members, attorneys and community organizations are speaking out against the Long Beach Police Department and Los Angeles District Attorney, calling the DA's findings "a complete outrage." They're holding rally today at 3:30 p.m. at the LBPD headquarters, 400 W. Broadway Ave., Long Beach. There, they will announce their next steps, including a demand for a federal investigation and the arrest of LBPD officers Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff, according to a press release. 

Here's a statement:  

It has taken nearly a year for the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles District Attorney to come to the incredulous decision that the shooting death of Douglas Zerby by veteran police officers Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff was justified to protect themselves and others.

Doug Zerby however was unarmed and incapable of harming anyone due to a high level of intoxication. Police Chief Jim McDonnell openly admitted in a public press conference that officers had observed Zerby for many minutes and never announced their presence or gave a command to drop what he was holding--a harmless water hose nozzle.   

"This finding by D.A. Steve Cooley's office that Doug Zerby's killing was somehow 'justified' is a complete outrage. It does not comport with the norms of justice we hold so dear in this country or the civil rights and liberties we come to expect for all people living in the United States," said attorney Ian Thompson.

Organizer Doug Kauffman said, "We cannot let this deter us, we will keep organizing for justice for Doug Zerby. Long Beach police violence has continued unchecked for decades and the Long Beach police have an excellent working relationship with their cronies in the District Attorney's office. Really, they have worked together from the beginning to prevent the release of any relevant information in the case or a just ruling by putting countless obstacles in the way of the Zerby family and their attorney. This is exactly why we are demanding a federal investigation and the arrest of killer cops Ortiz and Shurtleff."

The community of Long Beach will continue to be unsafe as long as these criminals are allowed to walk and this is why the Long Beach Campaign to Stop Police Violence will continue to fight until there is justice in the Doug Zerby case and all other cases of police brutality in Long Beach. LBPD and the District Attorney have shown that they do not stand on the side of justice but instead on the side of cronyism, corruption, and violence. It's time the people of Long Beach take justice into their hands by joining this growing movement alongside the Zerby family.


ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 2 6:03 P.M.: In a report released today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced that Long Beach officers "acted lawfully in self-defense and in the defense of others" in the fatal shooting of Douglas Zerby, a man "armed" with what turned out to be a water hose nozzle.  

The incident took place on Dec. 12, 2010, when police responded to a 911 call from a neighbor reporting a man with a six-shooter. Two officers, Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff, found an intoxicated Zerby sitting on a porch, holding what appeared to be a weapon. When he reportedly pointed the weapon toward them, the officers opened fire. 

Separate "lengthy and arduous" investigations were conducted by the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The DA's office supports the Los Angeles County Coroner's findings that Zerby's arms were "consistent with someone having both arms extended straight out and pointing in the direction of Officer Ortiz at the time the shots were fired."


"Sadly, we will never know for sure what prompted Mr. Zerby to raise his hands and point the object in that direction or what he was aware of at that particular time, but that action ultimately resulted in the officer-involved shooting," Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell has said.

Ortiz is a 10-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department, and Shurtleff has been with the department for six years.  

Family members have contended that the 35-year-old Zerby is a victim of police brutality and unnecessary use of lethal force, claiming the officers did not order him to drop the nozzle nor did they call for backup.    
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14 comments
James Ragonia
James Ragonia

There should be an investigation about how the nozzle displayed by police was NOT the same nozzle in a pic given to me by the owner of the property that taken 1-2 months prior. Owner gave me a photo that clearly shows a hose nozzle that looks completely different. This clearly shows attempts to cover up from day one! LBPD are dirty, and everyone knows it!

Lenny1979
Lenny1979

He could have picked it up anywhere while stumbling through the neighborhood drunk out of his skull as many witnesses had stated... Does anyone in this country take responsibility for their actions anymore? If he was such a good person and father he should have been home with his kid and not over 5 times the legal blood alcohol limit with drugs in his system. People do not have a right to sit on someone else's private property waving around something that looks like a gun... Get better!

masterslat
masterslat

@Lenny1979

masterslat
masterslat

You are an idiot shoot a man with a water nozzle if they were veteran officers they should have taken their time to see it was a water nozzle.

HAMelton
HAMelton

Do a google search on this guy and on wikipedia the very first line tells it all.

Stephen Lawrence "Steve" Cooley (born May 1, 1947) as an American Politician.An American Politician.  

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

have the Occupy Long Beach folks risen up on this issue yet?

Justice4Zac
Justice4Zac

The Zerby killing represents an affront to the very notion of due process of law under the United States Constitution. Doug Zerby had no notice that police were surrounding him, observing him, intent on rendering serious bodily injury or death. The only notice he was given was the hail of bullets that killed him. Every American citizen who values the sacred rule of law that one shall have notice before one can be deprived of Life, Liberty, or Property, should be raving mad about the decision by Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley not to press criminal charges, a decision that clearly places Cooley in a class heretofore unknown invertebrates.

Patrick
Patrick

Why didn't they say "Police drop your weapon"?! Uck! I mean officer Ortiz watched him for EIGHT Fing MINUTES! Then when this drunk dbag happened to aim a hoze nozzle at the hidden officers, Ortiz decided to open fire:< I don't hate the cops, but the growing trend of officers shooting people for holding things that "appear" to be guns has to be stopped!

909Jeff
909Jeff

The growing trend of people getting drunk and provoking the cops with objects that appear to be weapons has to be stopped!

Marty A Flores
Marty A Flores

"provoking"? While intent is not required to fit every definition of the word, most people would find it hard to accuse someone of "provoking the cops" without even knowing that they're watching one's actions (i.e. without the intention of inciting anger or action).

Coitus
Coitus

Until these officers are behind bars along with the Fullerton cops who beat Kelly Thomas (and other cases) then the police departments do not deserve our trust or respect. The police are no longer here to protect the public they are here to raise money for the state, follow corrupt leader agendas and serve their own interests for financial wealth at the expense of the public.

ron440
ron440

 This incident occurred  across the street from a bar. He waited on his friends porch. He picked up a water nozzle. A neighbor mistook it for a gun...next they lbpd watching him for 8 minutes and failed to identify a water nozzle or give warning...they silently stalked him through the callers apartment and firing on him. Maybe jeff someone will call the cops on you for something you have in your hand and you may be dealt the same irrational response these police dealt to Doug Zerby.

CooleyIsaDisgrace
CooleyIsaDisgrace

People have the right to sit around in their friends' backyards getting drunk and playing with garden hose nozzels or fake guns.  These policeman murdered an innocent man because of their own paranoia.  All they had to do was yell "Police - drop your weapon".  They didn't.  Now they should go to jail.  Cooley should be impeached/recalled.  By failing to prosecute he is telling the cops its no big deal to kill an innocent civilian.  F you Cooley.

909Jeff
909Jeff

I'm with you on the kelly thomas thing 100%... This tool on the other hand I cant really fault the cops.  It comes down to personal responsibility and the dude showed none. 

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