Mexican boy shot by Los Angeles cop to receive $24 mn

Mexico City, Mar 11 (EFE)- A U.S. jury awarded $24 million to a 13-year-old Mexican who was left paralyzed after being shot by a Los Angeles police officer in December 2010, an official in Mexico's foreign ministry told Efe here Monday.

The verdict was that the boy, whose identity has not been made public, will receive from the LAPD $14 million for medical expenses and another $10 million in punitive damages, the head of the ministry's office of expatriate services, Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez said.

The situation unfolded on Dec. 16, 2012, when an LAPD officer "fired at a minor who, in reality, was not armed" but merely holding a toy gun while playing with other kids.

The bullet "hit the spine" of the boy and left him a paraplegic, Rodriguez Hernandez said.

Though the officer claimed the boy was armed and that he told the youngster to drop the weapon before he fired his gun, the jury rejected the cop's account.

Rodriguez Hernandez said that cases like this "are not too common" due to the high indemnity awarded and "the seriousness of the damage caused."

The Mexican foreign ministry is now seeking to have the family's immigration status completely normalized, alleging that they have been the "victims of a crime."

The Mexican government assisted the boy's family via the PALE program, launched in 2000, which has signed contracts with law firms linked to consulates in the United States to resolve "almost 60,000 cases" involving Mexicans in the neighboring country.