Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Home News Zerby Family Finds Solace

Zerby Family Finds Solace

A few days ago, the family of Douglas Zerby won a wrongful death judgment against the Long Beach Police Department.

“We had closure today,” said Mark Zerby, Douglas Zerby’s father. “I’ll always miss my son. He’s such a part of my life and I’ll remember him everyday: ‘A kind smile and a word of encouragement.’”

I’d met with Mr. Zerby more than a year ago, at the advent of the one-year anniversary of his son’s death. The Mark Zerby I saw before me was a different man than the man I met a year earlier — more aged, but also more at peace, engaged with moving forward in life and his work.

Even with all the losses I’ve experienced in life, I can’t fathom the loss of a child. Moreover, the loss of a loved family member in such tragic circumstances, I can only imagine, must be drilling to the heart. Add insult to injury, the family was kept out of the loop and the police department insinuated that the Doug Zerby was partially at fault for his own death.

Officers Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff killed Zerby on Dec. 12, 2010, while he held a garden hose nozzle, which they mistook for a gun.

“People should be given a warning,” Mark Zerby said. “Lethal force should be the last thing when we have other alternatives.”

Nearly 11 months after Doug Zerby’s death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney determined that though this was a tragic mistake of fact, the officers involved in the shooting of Doug Zerby lawfully acted in self-defense of themselves and others.

While the District Attorney’s investigation acquitted the police officers, jurors in a civil case found, on April 4, that the Zerby’s 4th Amendment rights were violated. They found that the officers’ actions caused his death and that they acted with malice or reckless disregard for life.

“The jury was more than generous with the family,” Mark Zerby said. “They listened to all the family, the facts and made their decision. I’m very pleased with their decision.”

Mr. Zerby maintains he doesn’t harbor any animosity toward the police officers that killed his son.

“I don’t want to assign blame to anybody,” Mark Zerby said. “I just pray that this doesn’t happen to another family and that our police force can learn from [the experience].”

The federal court jury awarded $6.5 million to Zerby’s family: $2 million to Mark Zerby, $1 million to Pam Amici, Doug Zerby’s mother, and $3.5 million to Doug Zerby’s son, River.

While River will be taken care of, there is certainly no substitute for the loss of his father. Mark Zerby said his close-knit family maintains a relationship with his grandson, and plans to personally teach the boy to sail and dive, as his father did in his lifetime.

Indeed, there is no amount of money that can bring back Douglas Zerby to his family. But perhaps the acknowledgement that he was a victim, rather than a responsible party helps bring solace to family hit by double by the bereavement of his death and the insult to his memory.

Perhaps, as Mr. Zerby points out, the judgment may serve as a lesson for a department that embrace their shortcomings, as well as its many accomplishments.

1 COMMENT

  1. Mark Zerby,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.
    My prayers for you and your family.
    Debbie Haskell Steed

Leave a Reply to Deborah Steed Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular

Albert Robles Center Receives Highest LEED Certification

The facility, opened in August 2019, produces 14 million gallons a day of advanced treated water.

Community Roundtable

First of three workshops on the San Pedro rocky shore and its ecosystem, on ZOOM.

What the Beirut blast might have looked like if it hit Los Angeles

PortandTerminal.com, August 7, 2020 LOS ANGELES – The massive explosion in Beirut last Tuesday destroyed Lebanon’s largest port killing 154...

Ode to a Bookman

James Bullard Kennedy, July 13, 2020 By Bondo Wyszpolski, Contributor For two decades, Easy Reader and...

Recent Comments

Randomly Lengthly Walt on Republicans’ Revolt
Antifa are the real fascists on The Truth About Antifa
Artemis Gordon on The Truth About Antifa
Vicky Palesa Adam on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
J.S on Icarus Falls
Ghost from your past! on Icarus Falls
Lisa Bennett on The Truth About Antifa
Dave on Icarus Falls
Kevin on Icarus Falls
DAVID J LEE on Think: George Floyd
M Mackey on Think: George Floyd
Michael S. Motta on Think: George Floyd
Thomas "HOUSE" Houchens on Think: George Floyd
Eliath Mena on Think: George Floyd
Deidre Powell on Think: George Floyd
Marcia Ladymgirl on Think: George Floyd
Jennifer L on Think: George Floyd
Carlos Fisher on Think: George Floyd
Jose "cheMMa" Rodriguz on Think: George Floyd
Aniza Thomas on Think: George Floyd
David Seay on Think: George Floyd
Marc LJ on Think: George Floyd
andre edwards on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on From Pop Culture to Cop Culture
Sharon Hislop on Think: George Floyd
Fetteroff on Think: George Floyd
Raul Acevedo Jr. on Think: George Floyd
Mel Grayson on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on A Virtual World of Events 
Alice r. Knoop on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Joshua E Chambers on Take me to Sardine
Chad Dorchester on Take me to Sardine
Terelle Jerricks on Change Won’t Be Televised
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Bob Kohler on About
Judie M Barker on About
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Vivian Morales on From War to Lowrider
Robin Doyno on Staff
Publisher on About
Joe Stackhouse on Advertise
Marshariki Haylock on A Stabbing in San Pedro
CARRIE MENDOZA on A Stabbing in San Pedro
Martin Palmiere EMC(SW) ret. on Trouble on the Iowa
Martin A.Palmiere EMC(SW) USN(ret.) on Trouble on the Iowa
John H Winkler on Frequently Asked Questions
J. McVey on Staff
Malou Mariano on Tampering and Collusion
Terrell Williams on The New Gap Band Fills The Gap
Alton C . Thompson, Ph. D. on About
Harold Ericsson on Letters to the Editor
Hillbinkel on Trouble on the Iowa
Ian Gordon on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
larry lebedin on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
Joseph Bianco on Frequently Asked Questions
Deborah Steed on Zerby Family Finds Solace
Don Griffin on Rosenberg
Pete on About
Anne Marie Knudsen on Clem Pennington is the Whole Package
Terelle Jerricks on About
Lyn Jensen on Go Retro with Records
Steven R. Heldt on Fig Trees Are Like Democracies
Joanne Sims on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Dave Borst-Smith on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Charles Traupmann on The Buscaino Report:
james P. Allen on Across the Great Divide
Allyson Vought on Across the Great Divide
PBinLostAngeles on RL NEWS Roundups: June 14, 2016
davehall on Voter Guide
Chris formica Gringos Tacos on Food Truck Blues
Random Lengths News on Iowa Fever
Tinisha Rodrique on IMG_1761
polos fred perry on Less Than a Side Show
cheap soccer jersey on Less Than a Side Show
le mahjong gratuit on The Surrealness of Knives and Breast
Harry and the Gang on Sherlock Holmes at the LB Playhouse
neufert architect s data pdf on IMG_1761
sewing machine reviews on Annie at the Warner Grand