Officer Perry Legal Action Against FUSD

October 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Fresno police officer who felt forced to fire his gun after being attacked by a student at Roosevelt High School is taking legal action against Fresno Unified School District.Junus Perry feels he was not armed with the information he needed about the background of this student. So he's filed the paperwork that precedes a lawsuit against the Fresno Unified School District.

Officer Junus Perry was in a position very few school resource officers will ever face. Confronted with a violent student, Perry faced a situation he wants to prevent in the future.

In April, he shot and killed 17-year old Jesse Carrizales after the student hit him in the head with his altered bat. "What helps me make peace with this incident is I'm standing up and not allowing this to happen to again," said Perry.

Perry will not discuss specifics of the shooting at Roosevelt or pending legal action. His attorney, Warren Paboojian feels responsibility lies with Fresno Unified. "This was a student that probably should not have been placed at Roosevelt High School or at least special attention should've been given to him and it wasn't. And that's the job of the school district and I believe they failed to do it," said Paboojian.

Paboojian has filed a negligence cause of action claim against the school district. He's planning to file a formal lawsuit within the next few weeks. Perry said he's hoping the action will bring about change that will benefit students, staff and officers on every Valley campus. "I feel that this situation has caused me to want to help people on a greater scale now. I feel that I'm here for a reason and I would just like to see positive change," said Paboojian.

Fresno Unified is aware of the pending lawsuit, on Friday, they issued this statement to Action News saying quote "We're not prepared to comment at this time due to pending litigation."

Paboojian feels Fresno Unified failed not only Perry, but everyone on campus that day. "This shouldn't happen and what happened on that day was preventable and hopefully this lawsuit will institute some change in the procedures and the manners in how the Fresno Unified School District and all school districts handle their troubled students."

Perry said the lawsuit is one way he is moving on and pushing forward with his life. "This is a part of acknowledging that we have to do something in order to ensure that this never occurs again. That no family receives a phone call their child has been harmed on a school campus or no wife or husband receives a call their spouse in law enforcement has been harmed on a school campus."

The lawsuit will be asking for monetary compensation for the injuries Perry has suffered, but a dollar amount has not been named.

Meanwhile, the family of the student involved, is still very upset and looking for answers. Jesse Carrizales older sister said her family is anxious to see police reports on the investigation and school records from Fresno Unified.

Elisa Ortega said her family has received conflicting reports about how the incident went down. "We just want to hold someone accountable. Because he died on school campus, Fresno Unified, he's a police officer, trained officer on the force. He should've known how to handle the situation. My brother did not have to die."

"We just want to hold someone accountable. Because he died on school campus, Fresno Unified, he's a police officer, trained officer on the force. He should've known how to handle the situation. My brother did not have to die," said Jesse Carrizales' sister Elisa Ortego.

The family has not taken any legal action. They said have not found an attorney willing to take on the case.

Family members acknowledge Carrizales was taking medication for depression but they believe something happened with another person that triggered the attack.

They hope the reports will give them more insight into what happened before and after the incident to clarify speculation from facts.



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