The city of Gardena in Los Angeles will pay $1.3 million as settlement to an eight-year-old boy whose father was fatally shot by police in 2018, the minor’s lawyers announced. According to NBC News, Kenneth Ross Jr.’s death compelled city officials to introduce new policing laws.
Ross, 25, was killed on April 11, 2018, after officers responded to a call about someone opening fire at a park, Gardena Police stated at the time. Michael Robbins, the Gardena police officer who shot Ross, said he discharged his weapon because he “feared for his life” as he thought the deceased father was grabbing a gun. Robbins shot Ross twice. Investigators retrieved a handgun from the scene of the shooting.
A subsequent investigation into the incident by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office determined Robbins acted in “lawful self-defense.” Robbins retired from the police force in 2020.
Jamon Hicks, one of the attorneys representing Ross’ son, told NBC News the Gardena Police Department did not accept any form of responsibility for Ross’ death. But he added that “with a settlement amount of more than $1.3 million, we believe that speaks volumes.”
The Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021 (SB2 for short) was signed by California governor Gavin Newsom in October. The law allows for the decertification of law enforcement officers who have been convicted for serious crimes or misconduct. In effect, such officers cannot seek employment at other police departments.
“Today’s vote is proof that when we fight, we win,” Ross’ mother, Fouzia Almarou, said after the law was passed. “No mother should have to live with the kind of pain that I live with every day. This Act gives us the ability to decertify cops who kill and abuse our people.”
Responding to the settlement and the SB2, Hicks also said, “we are excited about what the future holds, and that Mr. Ross’s legacy will be. One that tragedy was turned into something positive.”
“We believe it’s a fair settlement,” Hicks added. “The settlement, in conjunction with SB2 that passed, we feel that there is going to be more accountability for officers in California and their inability to just move from station to station or even department to department.”
“The family is very thankful for all of the people that kept his name active amongst all of the other tragic killings across the nation,” Hicks continued. “The family, the mother of his minor son is very happy that people didn’t give up and forget about Kenneth Ross.”
Ross’ parents also reached a separate settlement with the city – albeit reportedly lower than what their grandson would receive.