In the wake of a predawn traffic stop that ended with the controversial shooting death of Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., the Marine's family has hired a veteran police misconduct attorney from the late Johnnie Cochran's law firm.
Brian T. Dunn, who has previously handled lawsuits involving L.A. riot victim Reginald Denny and Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt, said Monday that Cochran's firm has several investigators looking into the case and "based on what we have now, we're pretty much convinced that the shooting was completely unjustified."
According to , on the morning of Feb. 7, Loggins, accompanied by two of his daughters, crashed his GMC Yukon through a gate in the San Clemente High School parking lot. He then stepped out of the vehicle and behaved irrationally, walking off into the darkness and ignoring the deputy's commands. After backup units arrived, Loggins returned to the Yukon and got back behind the wheel, again ignoring deputy commands, officials said.
After Loggins put the car in gear, Deputy Darren Sandberg shot him through the driver's side window, telling investigators later he feared for the safety of the daughters if Loggins had been allowed to drive away.
That version of events has been criticized and challenged by , and interviewed by Patch.
Attorney Dunn specializes in multimillion-dollar police misconduct lawsuits, according to his bio on the Cochran Firm website. The list of high-profile cases he has worked includes Tyisha Miller, who was shot to death by Riverside police; Denny, who was brutally beaten in the 1992 L.A. riots; and Pratt, a top Black Panther who was imprisoned 27 years on phony kidnapping charges.
Dunn also speaks at seminars for law enforcement personnel about proper police conduct and procedure.
Update as of Thursday afternoon:
Dunn met with the Loggins family at Camp Pendleton on Monday afternoon to discuss the case, and said they were steering clear of the media for the time being.
"The family wants to lay low right now," Dunn said. "The case involves on a very serious level two very young girls. They're most concerned about the girls and not having their identity disclosed."
Dunn said Thursday afternoon there had been no major developments in the investigation through the week.