COMPTON — When fighting the federal government, it might help to bring in some firepower.
David Coborubio Jr.’s family did just that when their primary attorney recently brought Rodney King’s attorney on board.
FBI agents shot and killed Coborubio in late August when they stormed into his mother’s home with flash bang grenades, looking for “parolee at large” Paul Edmund White.
Officials say a confrontation took place as they executed their search warrant and that an agent fired a weapon. A medic and agents moved Coborubio into the street about one house down from the home in the 14000 block of White Avenue where the shooting happened.
Coborubio later died at a hospital. FBI officials said a gun was recovered from the scene.
About a month later, Coborubio’s family hired Whittier attorney Jaime Gutierrez, who has recently brought aboard Steven A. Lerman, the attorney who won the Rodney King civil rights police brutality case in 1994, following the acquittal of Los Angeles Police Department officers in the beating, which sparked the 1992 riots.
The Coborubio family’s attorneys have filed lawsuits against the FBI and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, which served the warrant, for tens of millions of dollars.
“I do hope that they see that this is serious, that we do need some kind of police reform,” said Anna Reyes, David Coborubio Jr.’s sister. “That, you know, them going in and killing innocent people isn’t right. We see this on the news almost daily now. And now that it’s hit government level, it’s like who do we go to now?”
The show of strength in hiring Lerman is somewhat of a comfort to Reyes, who said she does her best to avoid the memorial to David in her mother’s room at all costs. In the center of the memorial sits an urn filled with Coborubio’s ashes.
Reyes said this time of year has now become difficult for her family. Halloween was his favorite holiday, his birthday is coming up on Nov. 19, and then, there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, the first without their loved one.
“To be honest, I try not to think about it,” Reyes said. “We have his memorial in my mom’s room. I’ve probably been in her room, maybe three times, since it happened.
“And when I go in there, I try not to look at it, because it hurts. And it just brings up anger and frustration, deep sorrow, so I just try … my coping mechanize is not to cope with it, just to push it off, so that’s what I try to do.”
For her and the rest of the family, the lawsuits Lerman will now be representing them for are all about making sure law enforcement officers responsible for shooting and killing Coborubio pay a price.
“My ideal outcome would be that they actually get some sort of punishment for what they did, because it was wrong,” Reyes said. “They should have never came into our home the way they did.”
“This isn’t a war zone. This is civilization. We live in a civilian world. They should have never come in with the force that they did, so I really do hope that they do get some kind of punishment.”
At one point in the interview Reyes choked back tears, her anger targeted directly at a particular agent.
“The one who actually murdered my brother,” she said. “We live in a society where murder is wrong, yet he still remains free, while we were left with my brother’s ashes.”
Efforts to contact the FBI, the Sheriff’s Department, and attorney Steven A. Lerman for this story were unsuccessful.