December 5, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

City of Santa Monica Approves $1.75 Million Settlement in Officer-Involved Shooting Case

Wolfgang Mountford settles with City in connection to 2019 shooting

By Sam Catanzaro

The City of Santa Monica finalized a $1.75 million settlement this week with a 31-year-old man struck in the head by a single gunshot fired by a former Santa Monica Police officer.

On July 14, 2019, just after 2 a.m. Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) officers responded to reports of a disturbance on the 2000 block of Lincoln Court. Earlier that morning, officers had responded to a call involving a similar complaint about loud noise in the alley. Responding officers had a non-confrontational encounter with Wolfgang Mountford, ran his identification, and left the premises. 

When the officers returned a second time, around 20 minutes later, they approached driving a dark vehicle without lights. Mountford became scared because he thought the resident who made the complaint was in the car, and he tried to hide behind a trash can.

As SMPD Officer Eloy Rodriguez began to approach Mountford, he then ran past the officer who fired a single gunshot striking Mountford in the head causing a severe injury. As paramedics treated Mountford at the scene, he didn’t realize he had a gunshot injury. 

“I had so much of my own blood unnecessarily spilled,” Mountford wrote in a social media post. “About 20 minutes before this happened, I had an interaction with the police, they ran my driver’s license, and they saw that I had no felonies, no warrants, no outstanding record, nothing, and they thanked me for cooperating and let me go. 20 minutes later I’m getting either a nightstick or the butt end of some officer’s gun to the back of my head.”

SMPD officers arrested Mountford, and he spent 18 days in jail, received a bill for his hospital treatment, and says he continues to suffer from the incident. 

“This settlement offers a sense of justice and vindication for our client who was maligned as a criminal when he was, in fact, a victim of excessive force and civil rights violations by law enforcement,” said plaintiff attorney Daniel Balaban.  

Mountford suffered a traumatic brain injury and the trauma associated with the shooting. The City of Santa Monica fired Rodriguez from the department in May 2020 after an investigation found he violated three municipal codes. 

The City issued the following statement in the wake of City Council approving the $1.75 million settlement. 

“Mountford mostly recovered from the incident but was claiming residual mental and emotional injuries including ongoing cognitive deficits. The case had been set for trial next month. The City does not admit liability, but believes the settlement is in the best interests of the City.”

in News
Related Posts

Construction for 100-Unit NMS Lincoln Nearly Complete

December 3, 2022

December 3, 2022

Five-story project at 1550 Lincoln Boulevard almost done By Dolores Quintana NMS Lincoln is nearly finished after two years of...

 LA Home Prices Decline for Third Month in a Row

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

 Forbes analist shows pullback from buyers in Los Angeles home market By Dolores Quintana After a seller’s market reigned, the...

SMa.r.t. Column: An Urgent Appeal to Our New City Council & Management

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

The future lies within our cities, but our cities are crumbling! Cities are home to over 1/2 the world’s population...

“Art at the Airport” and 18th Street Arts Center Host Annual Winter Party

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Free event set for December 10 By Keemia Zhang The local organization “Art at the Airport” has collaborated with the...

Lyft Removes Scooters and Bikes From Santa Monica

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Santa Monica down to three shared-mobility companies By Dolores Quintana Lyft has removed its micro-mobility services from the cities of...

Separation of the Santa Monica-Malibu School District Moves Forward

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Public engagement to begin in early 2023  By Dolores Quintana The separation of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD)...

Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Rihanna’s Lingerie Line Resolved With $1.2 Million Stipulated Judgment

December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Lawsuit brought forth by Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office and other offices against Savage X Fenty A consumer protection lawsuit...

NPS Confirms Mountain Lion That Killed Chihuahua in Hollywood Hills Was P-22

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

Mountain lion will not be euthanized, NPS says By Sam Catanzaro During the evening of November 9, a large animal...

Westside Ballet Sells Out the Broad Stage for 9th Year in Residence

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

The performance company’s 49th Season of the Holiday Classic features dancers beyond the Westside The longest-running Nutcracker production in SoCal...

Local Restaurant’s Burger Named Best in the Southland

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Hank’s Palisades’ burger named best in the Southland by the LA Times Hank’s restaurant in the Pacific Palisades and Executive...

46 Samohi Orchestra Students Chosen for CODA Honors Orchestra

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Students to play in two San Diego concerts this weekend Santa Monica High School (Samohi) announced that 46 orchestra student...

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Celebrates the Holidays

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

Head to the beach this December to experience the hotel’s seasonal family-friendly activities This year, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel...

Free Holiday Events In Downtown Santa Monica This December

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

The Santa Monica Place hosts weekly events throughout the month of December, learn what is happening in this video sponsored...

Santa Monica Issues Moratorium on Parkway Ordinance After Public Dispute

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

Move comes after backlash from residents By Keemia Zhang Santa Monica has placed an indefinite moratorium on a previous directive...

Police Seek Suspects Wanted for Santa Monica Jewelry Store Burglary

November 28, 2022

November 28, 2022

Four suspects wanted in connection to November 20 incident  Police are searching for four suspects wanted for robbing a Santa...