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Shooting of Loggins Looks 'Completely Unjustified,' Family's Lawyer Says

Brian Dunn, who works for the late Johnnie Cochran's firm, has handled a number of high-profile police misconduct lawsuits. He now represents the family of an unarmed Marine sergeant who was killed by an OC sheriff's deputy after a traffic stop.

In the wake of a predawn traffic stop that ended with the controversial shooting death of Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., the Marine's family has hired a veteran police misconduct attorney from the late Johnnie Cochran's law firm.

Brian T. Dunn, who has previously handled lawsuits involving L.A. riot victim Reginald Denny and Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt, said Monday that Cochran's firm has several investigators looking into the case and "based on what we have now, we're pretty much convinced that the shooting was completely unjustified."

According to , on the morning of Feb. 7, Loggins, accompanied by two of his daughters, crashed his GMC Yukon through a gate in the San Clemente High School parking lot. He then stepped out of the vehicle and behaved irrationally, walking off into the darkness and ignoring the deputy's commands. After backup units arrived, Loggins returned to the Yukon and got back behind the wheel, again ignoring deputy commands, officials said.

After Loggins put the car in gear, Deputy Darren Sandberg shot him through the driver's side window, telling investigators later he feared for the safety of the daughters if Loggins had been allowed to drive away.

That version of events has been criticized and challenged by , and interviewed by Patch.

Attorney Dunn specializes in multimillion-dollar police misconduct lawsuits, according to his bio on the Cochran Firm website. The list of high-profile cases he has worked includes Tyisha Miller, who was shot to death by Riverside police; Denny, who was brutally beaten in the 1992 L.A. riots; and Pratt, a top Black Panther who was imprisoned 27 years on phony kidnapping charges.

Dunn also speaks at seminars for law enforcement personnel about proper police conduct and procedure.

Update as of Thursday afternoon:

Dunn met with the Loggins family at Camp Pendleton on Monday afternoon to discuss the case, and said they were steering clear of the media for the time being.

"The family wants to lay low right now," Dunn said. "The case involves on a very serious level two very young girls. They're most concerned about the girls and not having their identity disclosed."

Dunn said Thursday afternoon there had been no major developments in the investigation through the week.

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Douglas Martin February 29, 2012 at 08:45 PM
This is still a battle of words. I don't believe a word this lawyer says (especially when there's a 50% settlement fee). We need to see/hear concrete evidence - including dash cam video and the deputy's voice recorder - and what the girls have to say about the events. This is just more clutter.
enea ostrich February 29, 2012 at 08:46 PM
There plainly is another investigation needed in this case and thanks to this law firm, there finally will be more scrutiny shed on what actually happened!
Lindsey Hanson February 29, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I am so so very glad a high profile lawyer has taken this case!!!!!!!!!! I want the dash cam now!!!!!!!!! Justice NOW
jeff s March 01, 2012 at 03:05 PM
This story reeks of lies and cover up.. At least this lawyer will get the truth out when we go to trial. better to be up front OCSD than to spin lies and play the silent game. This story ain't going away that easy sucka's!! You gonna pay for murdering a US Marine....
Bo Bo March 01, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Only thing this lawyer will do is put a racial slant on it. When that happens forget justice. All the evidence is there now. Anything else is just fluff.
Lindsey Hanson March 01, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Point is Bo Bo it will give it the attention we need as to make sure nothing is hidden. Personally I will not be satisfied until the dash cam vid is released.
Bo Bo March 01, 2012 at 08:19 PM
We might owe the San Clemente PD an apology. I just read this in an article. Guess it is standard operating procedure for agression..... Oh well.. Michael Nida, 31 - unarmed at the time of the incident - was fatally shot twice in the back by an officer with a submachine gun, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Police said at the time that Nida had approached officers in an aggressive manner. Nida was initially a suspect in a nearby ATM armed robbery that evening, but police later said he wasn't involved.
Bo Bo March 01, 2012 at 08:21 PM
This guy must of approached the police in an aggressive manner walking backwards if they shot him in the back??? Just sayin'
peoplewatcher March 01, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Seems to me that walking backward aggressively would also be viewed as acting irrationally. Twice as many reasons to pull the trigger.
Bo Bo March 01, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Yeah... Sounds like a good shoot!!!!
Chris McLaughlin March 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I can hear Johnnie Cochran now: "If the reasons don't fit, you must convict!"
RG Davis May 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Being a retired Deputy Sheriff myself; and then returning back to active duty USMC; I've seen alot of contempt on the part of the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. toward Marines, especially in San Clemente. This is sad when coward cops get away with killing true American heroes. In another incident in Leon County FL, another US Marine was killed by some punk officer after the Marine had just gotten back from deployment. It is said this Marine answered his door of which the deputy had incorrectly knocked on looking for someone else, and killed him. As a Retired LEO and US Marine, I am very saddened when I see Marines slaughtered at the hands of cowards in uniform who do not have the correct training to deal with situations such as this. Orange County Deputies may spend up to seven years working as a jailer/corrections officer; (which by the way is NOT a person who should be working the streets). Jailers are used to dealing with incarcerated, and do not always use 'disretion' that a street officer would have to. Street officers have to have calculated investigative abilities to find out what is the incident at hand, and not 'jump the gun', while at the same time being ready to use force if it is needed according to the Use of Force Matrix. Attorney Dunn needs to investigate this deputy's experience and get a true understanding of how these Orange County Deputies are trained. Not all Deputies are bad as some make a good transition, but in this case it is a shame. SF to the Fallen
Joker Joe May 18, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I am familiar with the officers working jail duty but no matter where you work should not of influenced this shoot. The marine was just sitting in the car with his children. A moron could of acted rationally in this case.

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