The family of a man shot to death by Long Beach police announced a $20 million lawsuit against the city Thursday and called for reforms within the police department.
At Thursday’s press conference, the surviving family of Mharloun Saycon and their attorneys said Saycon, 39, was diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia and wasn’t deemed a threat to anybody when he was killed by police.
Saycon was a regular at Looff’s Lite-A-Line casino where he was ultimately killed last December after, according to Long Beach police, waving a knife inside the business.
The family’s claim states that he never waved the knife towards people and that he had been sitting alone, apparently calm, while at the arcade. Upon calling the police, an employee reportedly told dispatchers that Saycon may have had a mentally disability.
As officers arrived on the scene, Saycon did not comply with orders to drop the knife and attempts to subdue him with a baton and taser were ineffective, said the family’s attorney. The police then allegedly fired eight shots at Saycon.
The claim states that the officers failed to give Saycon “adequate opportunity to comprehend the situation.”
“This was a killing that should not have occurred,” said the family’s attorney, C. Joe Sayas. Saycon’s brother, Khanly Saycon II, said his older brother was his role model and steered him towards the right path. However, his brother’s personality changed after college.
“It was very hard for our family,” said Saycon II. “We didn’t understand what was going on and sometimes he would say things that didn’t make sense. He was diagnosed as bipolar schizophrenic.”
Saycon’s father, Khanly Saycon Jr., said that major changes with law enforcement need to happen to prevent any more tragedies.
“We are doing this for justice of all people getting shot by law enforcement, especially people who are mentally disabled,” said Saycon Jr.
The family called for more police de-escalation training and more mental health services.