Napa Valley Register/Howard Yune
A law firm representing the family of Juan Adrian Garcia announced Tuesday morning it has filed a claim against Napa County for what it called “completely unjustified” use of force in the deadly shooting of Garcia by a sheriff’s deputy in October.
The claim, a prelude to a potential lawsuit, asserts that the 47-year-old Napa resident and father of three was unarmed and not a threat when he was shot six times during a traffic stop that was captured by the deputy’s body-worn video camera.
Lawyers for Garcia’s family alleged that Sgt. David Ackman used excessive force and failed to give Garcia legally required warnings before he was killed.
The complaint targets Napa County and Sheriff John Robertson as well as Ackman, a 21-year member of the Sheriff’s Office who authorities say shot Garcia after a traffic stop at Highway 221 and Kaiser Road on the night of Oct. 5. Garcia was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center, where he died the next night.
“This unprovoked murder of an unarmed, non-threatening Mr. Garcia, followed by their lack of transparency, is a terrible violation of Mr. Garcia and his family’s constitutional rights,” attorney Michael Haddad of the Oakland-based civil-rights law firm Haddad & Sherwin LLP said in the news release.
Garcia’s life partner, Eva Lopez Hernandez, described him as a devoted father who gladly took care of their sons, taking them to school and working nights while she worked days to ensure at least one parent was always home.
“Juan was a devoted family man and very close to me, our children, his parents and his brothers and sisters,” she wrote. He was a really wonderful person. Of course, he had his faults, nobody is perfect. But I felt like Juan was a gift from God to me.”