Los Angeles News

Bicyclist hit, killed by deputy's patrol car in Inglewood after pursuit

Monday, October 08, 2012

A family is demanding answers after a Los Angeles County sheriff's squad car hit and killed a father of three as he rode his bike through an Inglewood neighborhood early Monday morning.

"I want to know if excessive force was used because my dad didn't deserve to die here," said the victim's son, Alfonso Cerda, Jr.

The incident happened on the 3500 block of West 107th Street around 1:25 a.m. An investigation is under way into what led to the tragic accident that killed 45-year-old Alfonso Cerda, Sr.

According to the sheriff's department, Cerda was on his bike when two deputies in a patrol car tried to contact Cerda. The deputies believed Cerda was carrying a gun. A short pursuit ended with the squad car and bicyclist slamming into an iron fence. Cerda died from his injuries at HarborUCLA Medical Center.

"How do you hit someone with a 5,000-pound vehicle? How does that happen?" Alfonso Cerda, Jr. said.

Inglewood Police Lt. James Madia said the cause of the accident has not been determined. In a statement, the sheriff's department said, "the suspect brandished a gun toward the deputies." But the family denies he had a weapon. When he biked, he always carried a flashlight, the family said.

No weapon was found at the scene of the accident.

Family members say Cerda often was out at night picking up clothes and items from trash cans, which he would later sell.

Community leaders and family members held a news conference. They questioned what the sheriff's department policy was on bicycle chases and stops.

"We don't want to see anymore tragedies like we have seen in this community," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call the Inglewood Police Department at (310) 412-8771.

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car chase, pursuit, car crash, los angeles news
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