Allegedly, Brooklyn police shot and killed a handcuffed man in August 2013. A grand jury has declined to file charges against the police officer who allegedly shot the man, but his mother has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
At the time the 24-year-old man was shot, he was wanted by police for kidnapping. The suspect was halted at a traffic stop and placed under arrest before he was shot in the chest. The details of this case are hotly disputed, and the wrongful death lawsuit will be heading to court within the year.
The defendant’s attorney has suggested that the man tried to fight off two officers during arrest. During the course of that struggle, he allegedly took possession of one of their Tasers and attempted to take a firearm. The man was facing more than six possible years in prison for kidnapping and was actively resisting arrest; according to the defense, police acted within their scope of authority to protect themselves from a perceived life-threatening attack.
The plaintiff, the man’s mother, does not believe that her son resisted arrest inappropriately. The plaintiff’s case rests on that the alleged fact that the man was handcuffed when he was shot in the chest (a fact which would belie the police’s statement that he was attacking both officers). The plaintiff’s lawyer further claims that defense’s argument is not credible. According to the plaintiff, four other individuals were in the man’s car when he was asked to pull over for the traffic stop and witnessed the ensuing events, but oddly, none of them were called to give testimony before the grand jury that dismissed the criminal charges.
The defense has indicated that a dash cam video of the incident is available, but the dead man’s family has not seen it. It is logged in as evidence to be presented at the wrongful death trial.
This is a very complex wrongful death lawsuit, and it will take time to be resolved. With or without criminal charges, questions about the incident that took a man’s life remain. If you have been in a situation like this, reach out and consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. You need to know what options are open to you, what the evidence reveals, how it may be interpreted and how a court may view it.