Cop killer files lawsuit against Calif. sheriff's office

A man convicted of participating in the slaying of a Pittsburg police officer in 2005 has filed a multimillion dollar suit

By Rick Hurd
Contra Costa Times

PITTSBURG, Calif. — A man convicted of participating in the slaying of a Pittsburg police officer in 2005 has filed a multimillion dollar federal lawsuit against the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office, alleging misconduct by some of its deputies.

Andrew Moffett, 25, who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at Salinas Valley State Prison, is seeking $2 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages against each of the 15 officers he says were involved in a jailhouse beating on July 7 at the County Jail in Martinez, according to legal documents.

Only one deputy is named individually in the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Moffett alleges that Contra Costa Sheriff's deputies subjected him to a "maliciously [sic] and sadistically [sic] use of force," and that he "was thrown to the ground" and this his head "was banged on the ground" and "thrown against doors." The lawsuit was filed Aug. 7.

An email to a Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office spokesman requesting comment Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Moffett was sentenced in 2008 after a jury convicted him and co-defendant Alexander Hamilton in the killing of Officer Larry Lasater, 35, on April 23, 2005. Hamilton was found to have fired the fatal shot, but Moffett was convicted under a felony murder rule, which holds accomplices liable when a killing occurs in the commission of certain felonies.

Moffett was 17 when he and Hamilton robbed a supermarket cashier and bank tellers inside a Raley's supermarket. The two fled in a stolen car, subsequently crashed it and ran in separate directions.

Hamilton was lying hidden in the grass of the De Anza Trail when he shot Lasater, evidence at trial showed. Moffett provided the gun.

The First District Court of Appeal struck down a special circumstance attached to Moffett's conviction in November 2010, but because the killing occurred before he turned 18, trial judge Laurel Brady upheld the option she had to resentence Moffett to 25 years to life.

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