Family of Teen Killed by Police Files $50M Lawsuit
An attorney for the family of a teen who was shot and killed by a Cobb police officer says that he will pursue a lawsuit against the county. The family will be seeking $50 million from the county for the death of 17-year-old Vincent Truitt. A family’s lawyer announced that this would be one of the largest lawsuits ever filed against a county for police brutality. The question is: Will they win it?
It’s basically the same story you always hear. A suspect, this time a teenager, was caught doing something illegal. Police shot and killed him during an attempt to escape. Police say the teen brandished a weapon, but there was no evidence to corroborate that claim from bodycam footage of the event. The teen was found shot twice in the back, so unless he was brandishing his weapon at someone behind him, and the police have X-ray eyes, the official account of events is false. A gun was found in the teen’s possession at the crime scene, however.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation led the investigation and turned over their findings to the Cobb County district attorney. The DA has yet to file charges against any of the officers involved in the shooting. Cobb County police “respectfully disagree” with the GBI’s findings. Repeated calls to turn over the body cam footage to the public have yet to be answered.
Sovereign Immunity in Georgia
Georgia voters recently passed a referendum curbing sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that either prevents or restricts lawsuits against the State of Georgia. Essentially, the state was able to kibosh lawsuits in pretrial before arguments were ever heard. This included a lot of lawsuits there were not necessarily personal injury lawsuits. Basically, the law stated that the state must “consent” to be sued. That is no longer the case.
There are, however, still limitations on lawsuits against the state and any of its actors. In the past, any state actor who was working within the confines of their professional duty could not be sued by a citizen. Now, it will be more difficult, thanks to the Georgia voters, to dismiss the lawsuits before victims and their families have their chance to be heard in court.
Lawsuits Against Police Officers
In the past, it was very difficult to file a lawsuit against a police officer if you were doing anything wrong with respect to the law. In fact, if three individuals flee a crime scene and police shoot one of them in the back, then the two individuals who are fleeing can be charged with the third’s death. Hopefully, revisions of these laws will make it more difficult for the state to tag its citizens with life sentences and more police officers will be held accountable for discharging their weapons without just cause.
Talk to a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Today
Gillette Law firm represents plaintiffs in Georgia and Jacksonville. If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another person, call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today and schedule a free consultation. We can help.