National City Pays $1.5 Million to Man Police Accidentally Shot in the Arm

Victim’s attorney praises police officer for admitting mistake

National City paid more than $1 million to a man accidentally shot in the arm by a police officer during a 2015 traffic stop.

According to court documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates, Jesus Flores was driving on F Street when police tried to pull him over for a missing license plate. In the court documents, Flores admitted he kept driving because he said he didn’t have his driver’s license and feared his car would be impounded and he would be taken to jail.

Three blocks later, the 22-year-old decided not to evade police and pulled over.

Then, according to court documents, National City Police Corporal Darren Pierson approached Flores with his gun drawn and Flores put his arms outside his car window, as directed by police.

Gene Iredale, Flores’ attorney said this is when Corporal Pierson lost his grip on his gun, and accidentally pulled the trigger while trying to regain control of his weapon. A single bullet hit Flores in in the elbow, causing permanent damage.

"This was a rather unique case because this was a good cop who made a mistake and he owned up to it," Iredale said. "This a case where a good cop, one with no history of discipline, extremely active in civic causes, made a mistake like we all so often do."

Pierson has since been promoted to detective. A National City police spokesman said he couldn’t discuss whether Pierson was disciplined for the accidental shooting.

Iredale told NBC 7 Investigates National City paid $1.5 million to settle the federal lawsuit, which lists excessive force, failure to properly train, battery and negligence, among other causes of action against Pierson, National City, and other defendants.

The lawsuit was dismissed on March 8.

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