Long Beach police critically wounded Leonides Enriquez on the night of Aug. 8, 2021, after they came upon a crash involving a vehicle that matched the description of one used in the Signal Hill robbery a few minutes earlier. A witness to the crash in the 1700 block of Harbor Avenue told officers that the driver of the car had fled southbound, and he pointed toward Enriquez, who was seemingly hiding behind a white truck nearby, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
In a body camera video released by the LBPD, at least two officers can be seen stepping out of their cruiser with guns drawn before telling Enriquez to make his way over to them.
In the footage, an officer can be heard warning his partner that he can see a gun in Enriquez’s pocket.
The officers repeatedly tell Enriquez to keep his hands out of his pocket, keep his hands on the hood of their car and keep his hands up. Enriquez takes his hands off the hood while he appears to be asking a question of the officers, and they warn him he could get shot if he reaches for the gun in his pocket.
When an officer tells him to get on his knees, Enriquez’s hands move away from the hood of the car and toward his waist, at which point police shoot him. While crumpled on the ground, Enriquez says he was just trying to get on his knees.
Enriquez’s July 25 claim says he was the victim of excessive force. According to Enriquez, police shot him seven times even though he never made any aggressive move toward police that would lead them to believe he was a threat.
In the claim, which is typically a precursor to a lawsuit, Enriquez says he is owed the $10 million to compensate him after the shooting left him in a coma for more than 60 days and caused permanent physical and psychological injuries.
Enriquez alleges that the officers acted maliciously by giving him commands that they knew would confuse him or cause a “sudden burst of panic.”
Enriquez admits in the claim to being under the influence of Xanax, fentanyl and methamphetamine the night of the robbery, where police said he walked into a Food 4 Less and left with $500 in cash.
Enriquez eventually crashed the getaway car he was driving, further disorienting him before officers started giving him commands, which he tried to follow, according to the claim.
“[Enriquez] placed his hands on the hood of the squad car as directed, but due to multiple and different instructions shouted by [officers], [Enriquez] took his hands off the hood of the squad car and placed or lowered his hands at his side,” according to the claim.
Following his arrest, Enriquez was charged with three counts of assault with a firearm, three counts of robbery, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition, and one count of carjacking. He ultimately pleaded no contest to just one count of carjacking and one count of robbery and was sentenced to six years in state prison.
In his claim, which he filed while still serving his sentence, Enriquez says he was heavily medicated and in a wheelchair when he admitted to the crimes.
The LBPD declined to comment on the specifics of Enriquez’s allegations due to the pending litigation.
When police released video of the shooting last year, then-Chief Robert Luna said he had some “concerns” with the incident.
“There are some things that we may have done a little bit differently,” he said at the time. “[But] we haven’t had the entire review yet.”
LBPD spokesperson Richard Mejia said this week that the review was still underway. It is not clear when it will be completed.
The department is also currently in the process of reviewing and approving a new use-of-force policy, Mejia added.