Family of Doug Zerby Awarded $6.5 Million for Wrongful Death

Three-judge panel ruled on Thursday

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a $6.5 million judgment against the City of Long Beach regarding the fatal shooting of Doug Zerby in 2010 by Long Beach police officers.

On Dec. 12, 2010, Long Beach officers did not announce their presence and opened fire on Zerby as he held a water-hose nozzle. They killed him with 12 rounds after they purportedly mistook the nozzle for a gun.

Zerby’s family will be awarded $6.5 million for his wrongful death. His mother, Pamela Amici, and son, River, will jointly receive $4.5 million out of the total amount. His father Mark Zerby was awarded the remaining $2 million. River was 8-years-old at the time of his father’s killing.

Zerby’s father adamantly voiced his satisfaction with the verdict when reached by telephone Feb. 5. “All of the attorney’s that were in this are at the top of their field,” said Zerby. “These types of civil litigation cases are extremely difficult cases to try because nine times out of 10, the victim is dead. The only thing they have to go off is what the police are giving them. We need to take back that narrative.”

The Long Beach Deputy City Attorney handling the case, Monte Machit, could not be reached for comment.

There are reports that the city is paying attorney fees of $750 per hour in appealing the verdicts, adding hundreds of thousands in costs that the city and its taxpayers will be obligated to pay.