Jan 21, 2011
By Sunita Vijayan
The family of a former Monterey County football star slain last week by police has hired the law firm of the late Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. to look into his death, an attorney confirmed Friday.
Jamon Hicks, a Los Angeles-based lawyer for The Cochran Firm, said Reginald Doucet’s family has retained his offices to conduct an investigation into the fatal standoff with Los Angeles police.
The purpose of the investigation, Hicks said, is to determine whether a claim for damages will be filed against the city of Los Angeles. Cochran, who died in 2005, is the famed attorney who defended O.J. Simpson against murder charges in the killing of his former wife and her friend.
Doucet, a former North Monterey County High School student, was shot and killed by police early Jan. 14 on Crescent Park West in the city’s Playa Vista area. Officers responded to the area after receiving numerous 911 disturbance calls, police said.
Doucet, 25, was found naked and acting erratically, and when officers tried to detain him he ran to a different area of the street where he had left his underwear, and put them on. Officers tried again to talk to him and detain him but were unsuccessful when he ran to a nearby apartment complex.
Police said in their third attempt in the doorway of the complex, Doucet came out swinging. During the altercation Doucet punched both officers in the head and face, police said. At one point Doucet tried to grab one of their guns.
This was when one of the officers shot Doucet twice, police said. Doucet was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hicks said since the incident he’s spoken to a witness and found “conflicting versions” of the events that occurred as reported by the police. Where there are plenty of witnesses who saw what happened before Doucet was shot, the firm’s investigators are looking for those who witnessed the actual shooting, Hicks said. It is likely that a claim for damages will be filed following his firm’s investigation, Hicks said. A claim against government entities typically precedes a filing of a formal lawsuit.
Hicks said they have 60 days from the date of the incident to file a claim. He said he’s uncertain when the claim will be filed since the investigation is in the preliminary stages.
Hicks said the Doucet family is frustrated and upset over the reports that have surfaced in the media over the former football star allegedly using drugs and being mentally disabled.
“As in any death, the family’s taken it very hard,” he said. “The difficulty in this case is hearing [things] about their son that’s not consistent with who he was …. That’s not the Reginald Doucet Jr. that the parents know.”