SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal jury awarded $21 million to the family of a pregnant teen who was shot dead five years ago by undercover cops in Northern California, attorneys say.
Elena Mondragon was a passenger in a BMW that drove away from a Hayward apartment complex when an unmarked van full of Fremont police officers tried to shut it down in March 2017, according to a complaint filed by the teen’s family. At the time, Fremont police said the driver of the BMW, who was apparently wanted by police, had slammed the car into the van.
Police opened fire and fatally injured Mondragon, who was a passenger. She was 16 and in her first trimester of pregnancy.
Her family’s civil rights and wrongful death complaint described the murder as “a botched covert arrest operation,” the… San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The jury’s decision on Friday was “an amazing verdict for the family,” said prosecutors’ attorney John Burris.
Burris said the jury had decided to divide the blame between the man driving the car and the officers so that the city of Fremont is likely to provide about $10 million of the award.
Fremont officials did not immediately comment on the jury’s decision.
In 2018, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the deadly shooting was justified by the police.