June 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

$5 million settlement for family of aspiring TV producer shot dead by sheriff’s deputies in West Hollywood

John Winkler.
John Winkler.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $5 million settlement for the family of an aspiring TV producer who was taken hostage in West Hollywood and then killed by sheriff’s deputies who mistook him for a suspect.

John Winkler, 30, was shot and killed on April 7, 2014, by deputies responding to a report of a man with a knife at an apartment complex.

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Winkler’s family alleged that deputies were negligent and used excessive force.

The settlement was reached on the one-year anniversary of Winkler’s death, but the amount was not disclosed until the board approved the payment Tuesday. The vote was unanimous.

The lawsuit alleged that before the shooting, a woman in the apartment complex showed deputies photos of Alexander McDonald — the actual suspect — and Winkler, identifying McDonald as the assailant. One deputy showed the photo of McDonald to other deputies, saying “Alex is our guy,” according to the suit.

Authorities would later say that Winkler was actually being held hostage by the suspect. McDonald is awaiting trial on murder and other charges.

During a preliminary hearing for McDonald, his roommate Liam Mulligan testified that he was also shot by sheriff’s deputies as he rushed out of the West Hollywood apartment clutching his neck, where he had been stabbed.

A sheriff’s sergeant testified that one deputy who opened fire mistakenly assumed that Winkler was using Mulligan as a human shield.

The lawsuit, filed in December, sought unspecified damages, naming Los Angeles County, the sheriff’s department and three deputies.

in Crime, News
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