top of page
  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

LA Sheriff's Department Shot Domestic Violence Victim Multiple Times After Her 911 Call: Family Sues Over Her Death

Niani Finlayson. Family Photo

The family of 27-year-old Niani Finlayson, has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department for a violation of civil rights and other claims after she was shot four times and killed by a sheriff's deputy in her apartment last month. 

On December 4, 2023, Deputy Ty Shelton responded to a domestic violence call at Niani's apartment in Lancaster, California. According to ABC News, "She called the police because she claimed that her boyfriend would not leave her alone, according to an LASD statement." "In the 911 call made by Finlayson for police to assist her, audio of which was released by LASD, Finlayson can be heard yelling for someone to get their hands off of her. She told the dispatcher she needed assistance getting a man out of her home." 

Tracie Hall, the victim's mother explained to the authoriteis that Finlayson's boyfriend had a history of violence with her. Hall told ABC News that "Finlayson's daughter informed her that the estranged boyfriend choked Finlayson and would not get off her after she repeatedly demanded for him to. When Finlayson's daughter tried to help her mother, the man grabbed the 9-year-old and forcefully threw her against a nearby dresser, according to Hall."

LASD released body camera footage from the fatal night. ABC obtained the footage and reported that, "Three deputies arrived on the scene. In the body camera footage, yelling could be heard coming from inside of the apartment. After police tried to kick the door down, Finlayson answered the door and appeared to have a knife in one hand, according to the body camera footage. In the body camera video Finlayson said, "I'm going to stab him." Finlayson then disappeared off camera as she left the doorway and went back into her home. At this point, deputies had their guns drawn." Moments later, she was shot and killed. 

Part of the outrage that Finlayson's family and community feels is that, law enforcement didn't try to use less harmful methods to restrain Niani or talk her down, before killing her in fron of her young child. Bradley Gage, the family's attorney stated "It's horrific to think of the trauma that Xaisha has had to endure witnessing her mother being shot," per his comment to ABC. Niani's mother also gave a comment, "It's so unfair that we have to live our lives without Niani Finlayson; That was my best friend. I'm going to miss her so much. I miss her already."

This story will be updated. To follow this story and other news, click the link to subscribe to Volume 82.



bottom of page