Bergener & Associates: Widow Files Complaint Against LA County Sheriffs for Death of Her 80-Year-Old Husband Shot During a Methamphetamine Raid

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Tonya Pate is seeking compensation for the death of her husband, Eugene Mallory, who was shot and killed in their Littlerock, CA home in a raid conducted by Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputies. Pate's attorneys allege that the warrant was obtained under false pretenses.

Mallory, who had celebrated his 80th birthday one month prior to his death, had no criminal record. He held a top level government security clearance and worked as an electrical engineer for Lockheed Martin in Palmdale…

On Jan 10, 2014, Personal Injury Attorneys James M. Bergener of Bergener & Associates and Mark S. Algorri of Dewitt Algorri & Algorri filed a complaint alleging a violation of civil rights and wrongful death against the County of Los Angeles, Sheriff Lee Baca and individual deputies involved in a raid conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on June 25, 2013 which resulted in the death of Eugene Malory.

The complaint, filed with the Central District Court of California, alleges illegal actions of individual officers who conducted the raid and the policies, procedures, customs and practices that encouraged those actions — including actions that directly led to Mallory’s death and the subsequent cover-up.

Mallory, who had celebrated his 80th birthday one month prior to his death, had no criminal record. He held a top level government security clearance and worked as an electrical engineer for Lockheed Martin in Palmdale until his seventies when, according to the claim filed, his vision became too poor to perform his duties at the company.

The complaint filed by Pate’s lawyers regarding case number BC532856, states that Deputy Patrick Hobbs falsely misrepresented to the court that Mallory’s property was the site of a methamphetamine drug operation.

According to the Statement of Probable Cause contained in the search warrant issued June 25, 2013 to search the Mallory property, Hobbs was driving around the property’s perimeter for the purposes of surveillance and claimed that, "once I was down wind from the location, I could smell the strong odor of chemicals." He then, according the the warrant, "formed the expert opinion" that the property was being used as a clandestine methamphetamine lab site, that the storing and/or selling of methamphetamine was ongoing, and that the supply would be replenished after being sold. No methamphetamine, trace thereof, nor evidence of the production, sale, distribution, or use were recovered in the raid.

In the complaint filed Friday, Pate's attorneys allege that Hobbs had full knowledge that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had inspected Mallory’s property alongside code enforcement personnel and that no suspected illicit activity was observed upon the property. They further allege that Hobbs withheld this information from the court.

According to allegations made in the complaint filed by Pate's lawyers, Hobbs obtained a search warrant based on falsified information on June 25, 2013.

The raid occurred early on the morning of June 27, 2013. According the attorneys representing Tonya Pate in the complaint filed January 10, 2014 the deputies entered the residence without announcing themselves and entered the bedroom where Eugene Mallory was sleeping.

The complaint filed by Pate’s attorneys also alleges that Eugene Mallory was not engaged in any provocative or threatening behavior toward any person and that the unconstitutional conduct of the defendants directly led to Mallory being shot by Sergeant John Bones. Mallory was then allegedly deprived of medical attention after being shot multiple times and ultimately died from his wounds.

Pate’s lawyers were unable to obtain an independent autopsy. As stated in the complaint filed January 10, 2014, despite full knowledge that Tonya Pate was Eugene Mallory’s lawful wife and heir, permission was sought from out-of-state relatives of Mallory to cremate the body. The cremation was then conducted without Pate’s consent and without her knowledge.

In the same complaint submitted January 10, 2014, attorneys James M. Bergener and Mark S. Algorri allege that Mallory’s death and the events which led to it were encouraged by an atmosphere of lawlessness within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Their allegations include negligence in both hiring and training practices as well as a deliberate indifference to the civil rights of victims evidenced by the failure to identify and investigate instances of excessive force against suspects, falsification of evidence, submission of false police reports, and perjury.

Tonya Pate’s attorneys assert in the same complaint that the defendants — who were emotionally or otherwise unfit to perform their duties — acted knowing that established practices, customs, procedures, and policies of the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department would allow a cover-up and allow the continued use of illegal force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

Bergener & Associates are personal injury attorneys serving accident victims throughout California. James Bergener has successfully resolved thousands of cases throughout his legal career. For more information on Mr. Bergener and the firm, visit their website.

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