Family of Police Shooting Victim Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In a state where it is very difficult to convict anyone of shooting anyone else, families have begun suing shooters in civil court. Recently, the family of a man who was shot by a Florida City police officer has begun to lay the groundwork for a wrongful death lawsuit. According to police officer Frantz Hardy, Juvon Simon was armed with a handgun. He said he also found a rifle within arm’s reach of Simon.
Witnesses, however, have a different story altogether. They claim that they never saw Simon raise a handgun and that the police officer fired through a closed door. The shooting occurred in an apartment complex where police were conducting an investigation.
At this point, it’s difficult to tell what actually happened, but if the police did indeed fire through the door it could make it difficult to explain how they knew that Simon had a handgun.
Stand Your Ground and Florida Law
Stand your ground makes it very difficult for prosecutors to pursue charges against defendants who can reasonably raise a self-defense claim in court. The defendant need only raise the defense and the prosecution is on the hook to prove it wrong. In many cases, they can’t. When a police officer is involved, it makes it that much more difficult. Often, this leaves only one avenue to get justice: the civil courts.
Unfortunately, there are limitations in Florida on how much a plaintiff—even a wrongful death lawsuit—can extract when the state or one of its functionaries are culpable for a death. The state imposes specific limits on tort claims, including wrongful death. A family can only be compensated $200,000 for the loss of their loved one and a plaintiff can never pursue punitive damages against the state.
Nonetheless, if a civilian fires a gun into someone’s home through a door, they will not only be held liable for their death in civil court, they can easily be charged with a myriad of offenses including second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and more.
The Two Knew Each Other Prior to the Accident
According to witnesses and families of the deceased, Hardy and Simon had a strong dislike for one another. Family members claim that Hardy harassed Simon on more than one occasion and believe that Simon may have been targeted intentionally.
Attorneys for the family are asking the police to release documents related to their investigation. There is a two-year statute of limitations on tort claims in Florida and police investigations into shootings are notoriously slow. The family fears that the police will stall the investigation to push it beyond the two-year statute of limitations.
Talk to a Jacksonville Wrongful Death Attorney
Gillette Law in Jacksonville helps grieving families collect damages from negligent and malicious parties. This means filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual responsible for your loved one’s death. If you have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence, give us a call or talk to us online and we can begin discussing your case.