CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Emilio Mojica’s family have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Corpus Christi and the four Corpus Christi police officers they claim are responsible for violating their rights.
Mojica was killed in October 2019 after her uncle, Francisco Garza, called the CCPD’s non-urgent number for help because Mojica had taken her grandmother’s cell phone and did not want to return it.
According to court records, Garza said: “Never in a million years would I have thought that calling the cops to defuse the situation would end in the death of a member of my family.”
As a result of the call to the non-urgent number, the prosecution alleges that a BOLO was issued for a separate 911 call, it was inadvertently attached to Mojica’s address, and officers were told that he intended to commit suicide by cop.
When officers arrived, Mojica was holding a kid’s T-ball stick and was alone. The lawsuit says that within minutes officers attempted to subdue him with a stun gun, but this had no effect due to a loose sweatshirt he was wearing.
He then walked away from the officers and was shot in the chest, abdomen and arm by PDCC officer Phillip Peterson, who was at the time a veteran of the force for four years.
According to the lawsuit, “The practice and practice of the Corpus Christi City Police Department is to use excessive force and / or lethal force in non-fatal circumstances. This illegal use of force is disproportionate against victims who are mentally disabled men of color. “
When approached for a response to the lawsuit, Corpus Christi City Attorney Miles Risley released this statement to KRIS 6 News:
“This is a pending civil action. Texas professional liability rules prohibit an attorney from making statements about a civil lawsuit that could prejudice a jury. Therefore, our general policy is to avoid extensive comments on pending disputes. Nevertheless, please understand that statements made by the complainant in a complaint are only unproven allegations. The Corpus Christi City Police Department trains our officers extensively on the proper methods of using force and interacting with people showing signs of mental illness. These interactions must take into account our need to protect our officers and the public from injury. “
The CCPD also said it could not comment on the pending litigation.
The lawsuit details 40 incidents dating from 2001-2019, in which men of color were killed or seriously injured by agents of the CCPD; some with mental disorders.
In addition, he indicates that the city has not trained the officers about these events, nor changed its training following these events.
In addition, policies and training programs implemented by the CCPD and approved by the city, the plaintiffs said, led to Mojica’s death.
The record indicates that the police are using PoliceOne Academy for self-directed training, and among the programs offered is warrior / killology training.
In describing the training, he “teaches the officer to be less hesitant to use force against the” bad guy “as opposed to using” measured and ascending action, “” according to court documents.
Further, the lawsuit alleges that “as of October 2019, the CCPD had implemented a policy, practice and custom through final policy makers that its police officers were to promptly resolve issues. calls so that the agent can switch to the next call. This policy, practice, and custom is the driving force behind constitutional violations of excessive force, as it causes the police officer (s) concerned to escalate the situation to bring the appeal to a faster conclusion, as in the case of Mojica. where from the time of arrival to the time of the use of lethal force was a few minutes. “
The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages and a jury trial.