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Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Wrongful Death Settled After Barbecue Owner Shot

Wrongful Death Settled After Barbecue Owner Shot


A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against police after a barbecue stand owner was shot and killed. According to the lawsuit, the barbecue stand owner’s wife was shot by a paper ball fired by police officers into the crowd. The man returned fire and was killed as a result.

The incident was settled for a reported $750,000. Lawsuits against the government typically settle for much less than lawsuits against private companies. The government protects the public coffers against personal injury claims by instituting caps on damages. Only if the plaintiff petitions the legislature for more money can they recover more than the $200,000 damages cap imposed under Florida law.

In some cases, the government may see fit to settle the case for more than the statutory limit. That’s what happened with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In those cases, public outcry was on the side of the plaintiffs. Most plaintiffs will not have their cases bolstered by high-profile publicity.

The incident resulted in the firing of the police chief after it was determined that none of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time. The officer who fired the paper bullets was placed on administrative leave and subsequently fired. She is also facing charges related to the incident. Another officer was required to surrender their badge.

Analyzing the situation 

A lot of these “fog of war” style incidents can be avoided simply by not escalating tense situations. Ultimately, police departments have to use reasonable care so that they aren’t making the situation worse. Today, police are more accountable than ever to the public, their departments, and the media. Police departments have responded by instituting policies to avoid making bad situations worse. In this case, police had been called along with the national guard to disperse a crowd that was protesting after the Breonna Taylor death. Instead of responding in a manner that de-escalated the situation, police opened fire on the crowd.

Since defending your wife is a reasonable measure to take under the law, the man was not faulted for returning fire. Ultimately, the plaintiff was able to establish that the police started the conflict, the conflict was avoidable, and that police involvement made the situation worse.

In cases like these, it helps to have department policy on your client’s side. If you can claim that the department violated its own policy in controlling the situation, you can prove that they were not performing under the law. Police officers are typically immune from lawsuits such as these, but they must be able to claim that they were acting on behalf of the government to claim that immunity. When they violate department policy, they are not acting on behalf of the government.

Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Gillette Law represents the rights of the injured in personal injury lawsuits filed against negligent companies, governments, and institutions. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your lawsuit immediately.



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