$8 Million Settlement For Wife Of Man Killed By Police
The police in Mesa, AZ are paying $8 million to the widow of a man they shot and killed in 2016. The wife of the man and his two children will receive $8 million from the city. In an interview, the victim’s wife reported that the settlement would do nothing to bring her husband back to her two children. The parents of the victim also settled a lawsuit with the city for an undisclosed amount of money.
Police received a call that someone was pointing a gun out of a hotel window. They confronted the victim, ordered him to exit the hotel room, and lie face down on the ground without making any sudden movements. He was then ordered to crawl toward officers. The officer shot him anyway and was charged with murder but acquitted. Police found two pellet rifles related to the victim’s job as a pest exterminator.
The moment of truth occurred when the victim was crawling on the ground while flat on his belly. His shorts started to fall and he attempted to lift them up. The officer interpreted this as reaching for a pistol and shot the victim.
The officer was fired but later rehired so that he could apply for a pension. He retired on medical grounds.
The Department of Justice has ordered Mesa police to turn over all documents concerning the shooting of the man. So, the investigation is not over. The police officer could still face federal charges, if appropriate. While some might think that double jeopardy applies, the truth is that double jeopardy is not nearly as helpful as the television shows have made it out to be. You can be tried twice for the same crime so long as it is not the same jurisdiction pressing charges. So, in the event that a state government loses a case, the federal government can file charges. It seldom happens, but in cases of official misconduct, federal authorities take a special interest.
From the plaintiff’s side, the issue is now over and they have their settlement money and their judgment.
Police homicide and wrongful death
Police homicide lawsuits can be quite difficult to win unless you can establish that the officer did something specific that violated their own department’s policy on the use of force. In this case, the plaintiffs were able to establish that the use of lethal force was unjustified in this scenario and recover damages related to the death.
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