Jury awards $21 million to family of pregnant teen shot by police

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A federal jury awarded $21 million to the family of a pregnant teenager who was shot and killed by police officers in 2017. 

Elena Mondragon, who was 16 then, was on-site when undercover police officers attempted to arrest her boyfriend on suspicion of armed robbery. She and her boyfriend were in a suspected stolen vehicle when he tried to flee the scene. He then rammed his car into a police van, injuring officers. 

Authorities fired into the vehicle of the suspect but also struck Mondragon. She later died at the hospital. 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office cleared the officers of any wrongdoings and claimed that the shooting was justified. 

At the time of her death, Mondragon was in her first trimester of pregnancy. 

“It’s not the same knowing she’s not going to be here tomorrow. It’s just hard. It’s just hard,” her uncle, Miguel Minjares said.

In 2018, Michelle Mondragon, the teen’s mother, filed a federal suit after Elena’s death at the hands of the police officers. 

According to the plaintiff’s attorney John Burris, the jury’s decision was “a tremendous verdict for the family.”

The jury decided to split the responsibility between the man driving the car and the officers. Fremont city will likely supply about $10 million of the award. 

In 2018, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the police shooting was justified.