Plaintiff Raymond Goodlow, an African-American male, claimed that his constitutional rights were violated when he was shot in the face by a City of El Cajon Police Officer. On January 18, 2013, an El Cajon Police Officer attempted to stop Goodlow to inform him it was unsafe and illegal to ride his bicycle on the sidewalk and potentially issue him a citation. Goodlow saw the Officer in his marked patrol car, but did not stop. The Officer followed Goodlow, instructing him to stop. Goodlow continued cycling forward reaching into his waistband, a common area where weapons are stored. Independent witnesses confirm seeing Goodlow reaching into his waistband area. Independent witness also confirm hearing Officer Bonilla telling Goodlow to stop and show his hands and that they saw Goodlow reaching into his waistband area. The pursuit continued into a used car lot where Goodlow used the parked cars for cover and continuously reached into his waistband area. Dashcam video confirmed that Goodlow repeatedly reached into his waistband area. Goodlow made aggressive comments and was positioned in a threatening manner (hands in his waistband area) facing the Officer, who attempted to radio for backup. He also strategically positioned himself at least one car length away from Goodlow for his own cover. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the Officer reasonably believed that Goodlow was reaching for a gun in his waistband. In fear for his life, the Officer fired a total of 6 shots at Goodlow. Goodlow was hit in the face and collapsed. After he collapsed, the Officer ceased firing even though he had additional bullets available because Goodlow no longer posed a threat. After the incident, two knives and assorted multi-purpose tools were found in Goodlow’s possession, but no firearm. Goodlow also tested positive for methamphetamines and amphetamines. The case was tried to a Federal jury of 8 people in April 2015. Goodlow was represented by Brian Dunn of the Cochran Law Firm of Los Angeles. The jury unanimously found there was no excessive force. Goodlow appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which. In February 2017, affirmed the defense verdict.
Goodlow v. City of El Cajon U.S. District Court, Southern District, San Diego, No. 13-cv-1524 DMS-NLS, Judge Dana M. Sabraw; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 15-56175.