Erick Catalan was Wrongfully Gunned Down by Huntington Beach Police, Mother Claims

Categories: Court
Thumbnail image for erick-catalan.jpg
Erick Catalan
After Huntington Beach police gang unit officers made a traffic stop in Westminster that resulted in John Andrew Torres, 26, of Fullerton, and Erick Catalan, 20, of Long Beach, being shot dead Nov. 1, 2011, "official" explanations for the police engagement kept changing.

That's the kind of thing that creates mistrust of law enforcement . . . and wrongful death lawsuits.

Catalan's mother, Maria Isabel Garcia, has filed a legal claim against Huntington Beach, claiming city police wrongfully executed her son. Such claims are routinely rejected by city councils, clearing the way for the filing of lawsuits in civil court.

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John Andrew Torres
Garcia's claim, which does not specify a dollar amount for damages, states Catalan was unarmed, that police did not take reasonable actions to arrest him, that the cops acted unconstitutionally and that evidence was "planted" to cover up excessive force. Huntington Beach city officials say the complaint is under review. The police department says a separate Orange County Sheriff's Department investigation of the shooting should wrap up soon.

Gang unit cops followed a Lexus into Westminster before stopping it. A woman got out before the officers fired into the Lexus, killing then men.

The sheriff's department originally said their Huntington Beach colleagues were investigating a Halloween 2011 gang shooting on Surf City's Queens Lane that put two men in the hospital. But deputies later backed off that statement.

The follow-up explanation and said the officers believed one of the dead men--they did not say which one--was armed, so they followed the Lexus. Police say the gang unit cops heard a gunshot inside the vehicle, so they returned fire. A loaded .40-caliber handgun that had been fired was found inside the Lexus, according to police.

A gang unit cop with 20 years of police experience was put on administrative leave after the shooting, as is department policy.

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29 comments
Tactical Flash
Tactical Flash

"Click,BANG,Click,BANG!" Problem solved.  I open carry my 9mm all the time.  Never had a problem.

Farnsworth.com
Farnsworth.com

The people have had enough. The gang situation is out of hand. Decent hard working people are tired of the bars on their windows, having to go into the house at dark lest cruisers shoot into innocent crowds of people.  The police hear us, the police are doing a job I wouldn't do. Any car stop could be their last.A car is stopped, a shot inside is fired and the expectation is the police should wait?  Police act under a law. They know what they can and cannot do. Protecting themselves is their first priority, don't you think?  The laws against gangs are stricter now and will continue. Get those tats off your neck, get a real job, pull up your pants and act like a human. Nix those hideous white knee socks, so gay. Don't like the law, take the 5 south until you smell something real bad, you are home in mexico, the land of know nothings and knuckledraggers. The land that proves the indians humped buffallos . 

Oscar
Oscar

POLICE STATE!!!!!

Tactical Flash
Tactical Flash

Sorry.  Cannot seem to muster up any sympathy even after seven beers.  Usually after five I get a little weepy. 

Mario Hernandez
Mario Hernandez

Good police work, if anyone thinks otherwise, these 2 dead gang members have friends that would love to meet and rob you. Go over a pay a visit or set them up at your house for a few nights.

R.J. Steelworth
R.J. Steelworth

In 2009 Torres plead guilty to felony gun possession, misdemeanor street terrorism, as well as misdemeanor battery, vehicle tampering and vandalism charges. In one of the cases, he admitted to a sentencing enhancement for being a member of a criminal street gang, court records show. Why was he not still in prison???  Chalk up another for the Ca Department of Corrections.

R.J. Steelworth
R.J. Steelworth

Re the suspect vehicle, should not be difficult to determine who the gun belonged to and whose fingerprints were on it as well as who in the car had gunshot residue on their hands. When you go out rolling like a thug then pop off a cap when he cops stop you, chances are you will get shot. Article also fails to mention the the cop in question was cleared and is back on full duty.Just another OCW hatchet job on law enforcement.

Oscarguizar
Oscarguizar

yeah just look at those two innocent looking kids

Guest
Guest

I can't find any comments from the sheriff department that this was related to the Halloween gang shooting, where is that?

Streets
Streets

Oh yeah, I believe the Caps...............

mitch young
mitch young

"A loaded .40-caliber handgun that had been fired was found inside the Lexus, according to police."

Thank god. For a minute there I thought the Po-Po had forgotten the art of planting a weapon at a shooting scene.

Hemi
Hemi

funny, everytime i see a grown man wearing those white knee socks i laugh, so gay. 

Hemi
Hemi

define police state boy, I think the police should mow all you worthless fuckers down.  Got neck tats boy? 

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Don't worry, whether it's paying off a legal claim, paying for more cops on the streets or building more prison cells to keep felony gun possessors behind bars longer, CA taxpayers will take care of it.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Just reporting on a legal claim, R.J. When the sheriff's report clearing the cop comes out, we'll pass that along, too.

909Jeff
909Jeff

You know what they say... A neck tattoo is a middle finger to society...

R.J. Steelworth
R.J. Steelworth

 Perhaps Oscar would rather live in a state where parolees or gangsters enforce the law.

R.J. Steelworth
R.J. Steelworth

That's an absolute cop out Matt. Guys like these two hoods are the reason we have prisons, to protect the public. If we can't feel safe in our own neighborhoods because of clown like this, we have a real societal problem. I suggest you look at the rate of criminal recidivism by parolees. Yes, prisons are expensive. It is also expensive to run the same criminals through the legal process again and again. Not to mention the costs to the victims.

R.J. Steelworth
R.J. Steelworth

 Hi Matt,

Appreciate your position, however the article seems to go a bit beyond that. Especially the last sentence when fails to mention that the department cleared to officer and returned him to duty almost immediately. Regardless of how one feels re the HBPD, this has the appearance of a well justified use of force by the police. When the police stop you and you start manipulating a firearm and in the process bust off a round, it's not beyond reason that the police will have legal justification to shoot.

Streets
Streets

Your right about the gangsters in Sacramento enforcing thier laws.

Matt
Matt

Wait, the heads were next to the torsos. I mean it's not like the torsos were unidentifiable, it just took a little bit of "Hey bring that head over here, I think it might fit this one." to figure out which one was which. ;)

Hemi
Hemi

Like Mexico? There is no law in that country yet they complain about the laws of the united states. How soon before headless torso's will be laying in our streets? And to think ANYONE would want to vacation there? A sesspool of people willing to look the other way. 

R.J. Steelworth.
R.J. Steelworth.

 Who arrests cops wen they are dirty? The honest cops who make up the vast majority of law enforcement.

Streets
Streets

It's even a bigger problem, when the Cops that are supposed to protect us are the thugs we are most afraid of.  FACT: A police officer is arrested every day in America!

Matt
Matt

Um, how bout, the fact that they were already stopped by the police and a female had already left the car. Obviously they knew they were stopped by the cops so the "Freeze Punks." was well established. As for the "BANG! BANG!!" Sounds like it was (inside the car) BANG! Then (from the cops) BANG! BANG!!.  Not the shoot first, ask questions later you're trying to beef up your article with. Come on Matt, if they were wrong, hang 'em high but show some objectivity please. 

R.J. Steelworth
R.J. Steelworth

Your agenda is showing Matt. Not very objective. The real issue here is why was Torres even on the streets? Had Torres not been released under CDC's newer relaxed parole policy, Erick Catalan would likely still be alive. Cause and effect.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Yep, if that's indeed what happened. We've only heard one side.

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