Five years after Koreatown resident Dontaze Storey was murdered in cold blood by LAPD officers on 3rd Street, a jury in a civil trial has awarded his son (then unborn, now four years old) $750,000 in a decision announced today.
Details on this breaking news to be posted here soon.
At the culmination of an unbelievable chain of events, Dontaze Storey Jr., 29, was shot dead on the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and 3rd Street on November 11, 2008, in a fusillade of bullets fired by two Rampart police officers in full view of his terrified pregnant girlfriend and his adoring neighbors.
The officers, Oliver Malabuya and Daniel Bunch, thought Storey had a gun. After they shot him full of holes, they realized the only weapon he had was a cell phone.
Storey was well known and highly respected in his neighborhood. His senseless, unarmed killing by the LAPD has sparked outrage in the community and rekindled activism against police violence which had lain dormant since 13-year-old Devin Brown was killed by LAPD for joyriding.
According to numerous witnesses to the murder, Storey’s fiancée had just learned she was three months pregnant and had gone to the drugstore two blocks from the couple’s apartment to get her pre-natal prescription filled. A man in the drugstore began harassing her, so she called Storey on her cellphone and told him a man was making her feel uncomfortable as she waited for her medicine.
Storey, who had the reputation of coming to the aid of anyone and everyone in the neighborhood, walked to the drugstore to see about his lady and came upon the man who was bothering her. He had words with the man, and the man pushed Storey, and they began to tussle a bit. The drugstore manager told them to cut it out and to take their dispute outside. In the meantime, someone called the cops and reported there was a Black man in the store with a gun.
While all this was going on, his fiancée left the store. En route home, she saw a large number of cops descending on the drugstore and a helicopter hovering overhead. Not knowing what was happening, she called Storey and told him to hurry home. Storey turned in the direction of his Berendo Street apartment, saw his fiancée waiting for him and began running toward her.
Witnesses said Storey was being trailed by a police car as he ran to catch up with his fiancée and they said the cops — Malabuya and Bunch — came up on Storey from behind and exited their car shooting.
All of the witnesses said the police never yelled ‘Stop!’ ‘Police!’ or anything. They just came out of the car shooting him from the rear.
Storey was shot in the back of his leg, which spun him around, then he was shot in the chest and in the mouth. Two of the witnesses say the police shot him in the mouth after he was on the ground. Atun Re, Storey’s chiropractor uncle, said he saw four wounds on his body, including the one to his mouth that knocked out his teeth and exited through his cheek.
Needless to say, the police account of the killing differs from the witnesses in that the police claim they attempted to detain Storey, who ran from them and that they chased him on foot and that Storey “turned in their direction with an unknown object in his hand believed to be a handgun.” As we know, that unknown object was the cell phone on which he had been communicating with his fiancée down the street.
Malabuya, who at the time had been a cop for only seven months, and Bunch, then five years in the department, were removed from duty for a week after the killing but returned to the field with the approval of the department’s psychologist and LAPD chief William Bratton.
Storey, of Jamaican heritage, was a massage therapist in the process of getting his license. He was a great cook who had studied culinary arts. He was a very talented man who always took time out to help others. Everybody in the neighborhood liked him.
Born and raised in South L.A., he attended Audubon Middle School — the same school Devin Brown was attending when LAPD killed him.
Rest in Peace: Dontaze Storey Jr. (August 18, 1979 – November 11, 2008)
The neighborhood of Koreatown would like to express their sincere thanks to the jury for handing down some portion of justice to the family of Dontaze Storey. It will not bring him back, but at least his child will have financial sustenance as he grows up after the loss of a father.