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Attorney John Sweeney: To the Courtroom Born

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Los Angeles, CAThe family of Kevin Wicks, a 38-year-postal worker can't imagine why police would have shot and killed him, in his apartment, one warm July night in Inglewood California.

The family is further enraged by the fact that the officer, who pulled the trigger on the night of July 21, was also involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager just a few months before. Officer Brian Ragan had only recently returned to active duty when he shot and killed Kevin Wicks.

Attorney John Sweeney"He's had a bad summer," says attorney John Sweeney, referring to the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Kevin Wicks.

The Wicks family understandably wants answers. They also want to sue the Inglewood Police.

John Sweeney represents Kevin Wicks's 11-year-old daughter, Milan, in a 25- million-dollar wrongful death suit. "Milan is the oldest daughter. She had a very close relationship with her father," says Sweeney.

John Sweeney is well known in Los Angeles, both for his work with the black community and his success as a lawyer. In the 1980s, as a young lawyer, Sweeney cut his teeth with the legendary Johnnie Cochrane. "I learned a lot of from Johnnie Cochrane, absolutely," says Sweeney.

Sweeney was also part of the legal team that defended Michael Jackson at his child molestation trial. Sweeney represented defense witness and film star Chris Tucker, whose testimony was pivotal to Jackson's acquittal, according to experts.

Sweeney has been involved in a number of high profile murder trials and several lawsuits involving the police. In 2001, Sweeney won a $2.4 million verdict on behalf of an elderly man who was the victim of an unlawful police shooting.

He is an energetic and sometimes provocative lawyer with a flamboyant style, and he is very comfortable being John Sweeney. "Well my father was lawyer. He graduated from Howard University Law School in Washington D.C., and in fact, I was born while my father was going to school there in 1951.

As a toddler, Sweeney tagged along to the courthouse with his dad. As a teenager, Sweeney was already reading, "The Essentials of Cross Examination", considered at the time, to be the defense lawyer's bible.

Right now, Sweeney is focused like a laser beam on the Wicks case.


Actually, it was Kevin Wick's niece asked the police to come to the apartment building that night in July. She heard a ruckus coming from the vacant apartment, right next to her uncle's apartment, on the floor below her.

For reasons no one can yet explain, the officers went Kevin Wick's apartment. Family members believe the police simply went to the wrong door.

Regardless, first reports indicate that when police knocked on Wicks's door around midnight, he had a gun in his hand.

"We don't have all the reports yet," says Sweeney. "However, we believe that Kevin Wicks did not have a gun that night."

"This is not a guy who would confront the police with a gun," says Sweeney.

"We believe this was a man who a pillar of the community, a 19-year-career as a postal employee. He was friends with several Inglewood Department Police officers, and he was working toward becoming a corrections officer." Sweeney argues.

Thinking a head to how he will prepare for the lawsuit, Sweeney says he will likely use crime reconstruction experts, and try to establish the trajectory the bullet or bullets that were fired that night."

John Sweeney is not the kind of person who likes to lose. He has a good record in that department. Between 1997-2001 won 23 straight jury trials.

John Sweeney graduated from the University of Southern California in 1973, and California College of Law in 1979.

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