Police officers can be at the end of wrongful death lawsuits when police struggle go too far. One Texas police officer is facing this scenario first hand. The officer is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after allegedly using excessive force against a 22-year-old man, who later died. The family is seeking damages to cover funeral expenses, court costs and severe emotional distress. The suit names the city, the police chief and the officer in the lawsuit.
The incident occurred when police received a call reporting gunshots in the man’s neighborhood on New Year’s Eve. When the officer arrived at the man’s home, the backdoor was open, and the man allegedly had the gun pointed at the officer. The man failed to drop the gun when the officer asked, so the officer fired at the man. After several rounds of gunfire, the man was killed.
According to the man’s sister, firing a gun is a Mexican tradition to celebrate the New Year, and the gun is only fired at the ground. The lawsuit states that the man was unarmed in his home and posed no threat to the officer. The lawsuit also claims that the city failed to train their officers properly, and that the officer’s use of force against the man was unreasonable. The lawsuit alleges that the city should have trained officers to determine whether a suspect is a threat before using deadly force. The lawsuit also contends that none of the officers present offered any medical assistance to the man after the shooting.
Criminal charges will likely not be filed against the police officer because a grand jury determined that the officer was justified in his use of deadly force in April. The police chief was also recently cleared after an internal investigation by the police department.
It is not presently known whether or not the family will win, but winning damages in the lawsuit would help in the recovery process. Nonetheless, just filing the wrongful death lawsuit allowed them to have their day in court, which can help in the healing process.
Source: KLTV 7, “Family of Tyler man killed in officer-involved shooting sues city, police,” Melanie Torre, June 7, 2013.