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Francisco Garcia: Killed by LASD Deputy Luke Liu in 2016

 

Scene where Francisco Garcia was killed by Luke Liu

Arial view of Francisco Garcia’s car at the Norwalk gas station after deputy Luke Liu shot him to death on February 24, 2016. (Source)

September 6, 2021 ~ By Shari Rose                  

Updated February 10, 2022

Liu stopped Garcia at a gas station, accused him of stealing a car, then shot the unarmed motorist four times

Francisco Garcia killed by Luke Liu in 2016

Francisco Garcia in an undated photo. (Source)

On February 24, 2016, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Luke Liu approached Francisco Garcia at a Norwalk gas station. Liu says he was investigating a potentially stolen car. He told investigators that he asked Garcia if he owned the vehicle. Liu said that Garcia, who was sitting behind the wheel, responded, “It’s none of your business.”

Garcia, 26, began driving away from Liu at about 5 mph. Despite zero evidence suggesting that Garcia was armed, Liu said he was afraid Garcia had a gun in the backseat and was reaching for it as he drove away.

Liu then ran up alongside the driver’s side of Garcia’s car and fired seven times, hitting Garcia four times. A total of 20 seconds passed between Liu approaching Garcia, and him firing. Garcia was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was 26 years old. 

Liu Charged With Manslaughter in 2018

Shockingly, Luke Liu was charged with voluntary manslaughter in December 2018. The last time a Los Angeles law enforcement official was charged with killing a person was 2000. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 1,500 police shootings have occurred without charges. 

LA sheriff's deputy Luke Liu at trial

Deputy Luke Liu appears in court after being charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of motorist Francisco Garcia. (Source)

Liu paid a more than $1 million bond, and remained free until his arraignment on June 14, 2019. Francisco Garcia’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County, and was eventually rewarded $1.75 million. 

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In an Associated Press story from December 2018, the sheriff’s union, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, ardently defended Liu and blamed Garcia for his own death. Despite any evidence, the union proclaimed that Garcia was on meth and sped away from Liu. Security footage from the gas station that captured parts of the shooting shows that Garcia was driving away from Liu at 5 miles per hour, but that’s classic police union behavior. 

In 2015, the year before he killed Garcia, deputy Luke Liu received $182,493 in compensation from the county. Three years after he shot Garcia, Liu still recieved $45,000 in 2019. He was already charged with manslaughter, and somehow received thousands of dollars in compensation from Los Angeles County. 

Luke Liu Found Not Guilty By Jury

On November 19, 2021, Luke Liu was found not guilty of manslaughter in the killing of Francisco Garcia. It didn’t matter that Garcia was unarmed. Nor did it matter that the emergency room doctor who treated him testified he suffered “no significant injuries” and there was no physical evidence that Garcia hit him with the car.

Liu’s attorney called only one witness, an expert on the use-of-force who worked prior for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Liu did not testify.

It took 20 years for a police officer in Los Angeles to be criminally charged for killing another person. And as difficult as it is to get a charge, it’s even more challenging to have a jury find an on-duty officer guilty of just about anything. 

As frustrating as it can be, the work toward accountability and justice in police violence is a marathon, not a sprint. But perhaps the tide is turning in small ways. At the end of 2021, a different Los Angeles officer was charged in the shooting death of a young woman. Eddie F. Gonzalez, a Long Beach school safety officer who killed an 18-year-old after shooting her in the head on school grounds, has been charged with murder. 

Perhaps the family of Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez will see justice in the violent death of their loved one, but the odds are certainly stacked against them. 

This story about Francisco Garcia is part of a larger project that looks at recent police shootings of Latinos in Los Angeles.

More stories: Armando Garcia-Muro: Teenager Killed By LA Sheriffs As They Shot A Dog

More stories: Daniel Canizales: Shot 16 Times By South Gate Police in 2019

More stories: How Journalist Ruben Salazar Gave Voice to Chicanos in Los Angeles

More stories: The Lives of Ferguson & Black Lives Matter Protesters Cut Short

Shari Rose

Shari Rose

Owner of Blurred Bylines💖💜💙

I created Blurred Bylines in an effort to bring stories from marginalized perspectives into the national conversation. As a former copy editor at the largest newspapers in Arizona and Colorado, I’ve seen first-hand the potential of accurate and accessible information to change minds and affect national policy. 

My stories focus on individuals fighting for justice and their own rights as Americans, survivors of violent crime who rebuilt their lives after tragedy, shifting political trends that seek to strip the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups of their freedoms, and forgotten figures in U.S. history whose fights for equality persist today.

Through writing these articles, I stumbled upon the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to attract interested audiences to my writing. In addition to the ad-free and paywall-free stories I write at Blurred Bylines, I also perform SEO services for businesses, nonprofits, and fellow freelancers around the country so they can grow their organizations through search engines. 

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5 Comments
  1. Betty

    It amazes me how one-sided you present your case. This criminal is a 2 time felon, who was high on meth, in a stolen car trying to run the cop over. This criminal had choices… to obey law enforcement, to not steal a car and definitely not run the cop over. Look at the toxicology report lady! Look at where the criminal was hit… know your facts 1st.

    Reply
    • Shari Rose

      Betty,
      Having a previous criminal record is not justification for being shot and killed in the street by a police officer. Nor is getting high. We have video evidence that proves Garcia was not attempting to harm Liu with his vehicle. In fact, it’s so obvious that Liu was not justified in his actions that Garcia’s family was rewarded $1.75 million in a wrongful death suit. And Liu is charged with voluntary manslaughter in Garcia’s death, though 5 years later, Garcia’s family is still waiting for a trial. That’s a damn tragedy, and I believe it’s important that what happened to Francisco Garcia at the hands of a LA sheriff’s deputy continues to be in the national conversation about police brutality.

      Reply
  2. Maria Ruiz

    Hi Shari,
    I am Francisco Garcia (Frankie to me) I really appreciate you writing this article everything
    that was writing about my sons case was towards the advantage of the Deputy involved, all lies that he got hurt.
    This was truly an unjustified death, we have missed my son dearly, there’s a big hole in my heart that will never be filled!!
    My Granddaughter is still suffering the consequences

    Just wanted to thank you!!

    Reply
    • Shari Rose

      Hi Frankie,
      Thank you so much for reaching out. I am so touched and humbled by your response. What happened to your son was horrific, and his story deserves to be part of the national conversation about police violence, especially concerning the unjustified killings by police in Los Angeles against people of color. I pray that you and your family can find peace in this horrible situation. Thank you again for reaching out!

      Reply
      • Maria

        Sorry, I meant to write I’m Frankie’s Mom my name is Maria, thank you again!

        Reply
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