The city of South Pasadena, Calif. has reached a settlement agreement in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of actor Vanessa Marquez, who was shot and killed by police in her home in 2018.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Marquez’s mother, Delia McElfresh, and the city of South Pasadena agreed upon the amount of $450,000, “in order to save the parties the costs associated with protracted litigation,” South Pasadena Mayor Diana Mahmud told the Times. The majority of the cost of the settlement and litigation will come from South Pasadena’s risk pool. All of the suit’s claims — which included unlawful entry, excessive force, violation of due process and unreasonable detention — will also be dismissed with prejudice as part of the settlement.
Marquez, best known for her role on the television show “ER,” was shot and killed during a wellness check after police believed she brandished a gun. Police officers were called to the scene by paramedics, who were first alerted to check in on Marquez by one of her friends. Marquez was suffering from a seizure upon their arrival and declined transportation to the hospital. About 90 minutes after the police entered her home, Marquez aimed a BB gun at them, resulting in the shooting.
McElfresh filed the suit in August 2020 against the city of South Pasadena as well as the city’s former chief of police and the officers involved, claiming that the police had caused the confrontation by ignoring the paramedics’ allowance of Marquez to decline transportation to a hospital.
The suit claimed that “Ms. Marquez was shot when she was not facing the officers, when the officers were a safe distance away from her, and when there was no imminent threat of serious injury or death to the officers or others.”
In March of 2020, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue criminal charges against two of the officers involved in the shooting, alleging that they believed Marquez posed an imminent threat to their safety.