A Mother's Statement - Jury finds Buena Park officer's liable for her son's killing

Editor's Note:

Beloved 19 year old David Sullivan was killed by Buena Park Police Department in 2019. Officers Jennifer Tran and Bobby Colon shot him 7 times within 2 minutes of pulling David over. This week, the family's second civil trial ended and the jury found the officers were negligent and used excessive force. The following is a statement from DeAnna Sullivan, David's mother.

My son, David Sullivan was 19 years old and unarmed when he was shot and killed by two Buena Park PD officers, Bobby Colon and Jennifer Tran, on August 19, 2019.

On May 01, 2024, a jury decided that these officers were negligent and used excessive force, resulting in David's murder. The jury saw we collectively need to hold police to a higher standard because they have the power to end life.

I am grateful the jury held the City of Buena Park accountable for their officer's actions in Civil Court. Now the Orange County DA, Todd Spitzer needs to hold Colon and Tran accountable in Criminal Court.

David posed no imminent threat. Colon and Tran created a high risk situation by their reckless escalation of the initially calm traffic stop.   

David's civil right to due process was stripped away when Buena Park PD, Bobby Colon and Jennifer Tran played judge, jury, and executioner in the streets of Fullerton. David wasn't given the opportunity to take responsibility for his actions. Colon and Tran had no regard for David, themselves, or the public as they escalated to violence and endangered people by shooting their guns towards oncoming traffic and into an open place of business. Time was on their side and they chose not to use other tactics such as waiting for back up and less than lethal options that were accessible to them. These officers have a responsibility to their community to "protect and serve," and if they had done their job that day, David would still be alive.

Both Tran and Colon lied to their Sergeant when explaining what had happened. Colon later lies to the DA office after he had 9 days and the city attorney, Bruce Praet present. Bruce Praet is the co-founder of a multi-million dollar for profit company that writes police policy and procedures for police departments and agencies across the United States. These policies have no mandated rules, only "best practices" for police to follow. Which means police can do what they want without legal consequence.

Families of loved ones that suffered police brutality and murder are forever impacted. The police do not lose their jobs, pay, or family. Nothing happens to them. This system needs to change.