Santa Cruz County and the City of Capitola paid $2.5 million to settle this case before trial where they caused a 15 year old boy, who they knew was experimenting with LSD, to be shot and killed.  This case was brought by Luke’s parents and sister (Haddad & Sherwin LLP represented Luke’s father, Ian Smith) from his shooting on November 9, 2016.  Instead of using appropriate tactics for the situation, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office oversaw the use of rubber projectiles, a Taser, and a police dog on Luke, because Luke was high and would not drop a knife.  The police dog, handled by Capitola Officer Pedro Zamora, was known to bite innocent people – including police – so the dog had to be kept on a short leash, leading officers right up to where Luke was standing.  Then, with no plan or coordination, multiple officers used high levels of force against Luke, including by Taser, more projectiles, and vicious dog attack.  When Luke predictably flailed from these multiple attacks against him, Santa Cruz Sheriff Deputy Chris Vigil shot and killed Luke with an AR-15 assault rifle.  Luke never attacked officers — he was shot in the upper back.  This tragic case was the foreseeable result of poor planning and lack of communication and coordination by law enforcement officers who knew they were dealing with a boy on drugs.


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