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New York City sued for wrongful death after police shooting

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2012 | Personal Injury

An 8-year-old boy is without a father after the man was shot when New York police mistook him for a robbery suspect. Then, to make matters worse, police allegedly prevented paramedics from attempting to save the man’s life, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed last week in a federal court in Brooklyn on behalf of the victim’s son. Family members of the 8-year-old say the boy has been hit hard emotionally since the death of his 26-year-old father, who was killed by police in January.

The young father was killed during a chaotic scene that involved a series of events that lead up to the shooting at the man’s East New York residence. The man had recently passed the New York City Police Department’s entrance exam for the Police Academy, according to relatives. He shared a home with his brother who lived in a basement apartment. He heard noises coming from his brother’s apartment and upon investigating he saw his brother being beaten by two men in masks.

After running upstairs in his pajamas he retrieved a gun and just as he was running outside holding the loaded weapon, police arrived after receiving a 911 call at 10:36 p.m. The police version of events claim officers instructed the man to “freeze,” however the lawsuit claims the police fired their weapons without identifying themselves or saying anything. Even with a gunshot wound to the chest the man was able to stumble back upstairs, and apparently not realizing he had been shot by police his final words to his girlfriend were “I just got shot. Call the cops,” according to reports.

Paramedics were not dispatched until 10:51 p.m. and arrived at the scene at 10:56 p.m. According to the lawsuit, police barred paramedics from treating the victim for several critical minutes while they searched the man’s home for incriminating evidence. He was taken to the hospital seven minutes after paramedics arrived where he later died. Police have refused to comment on the internal investigation into the shooting.

The municipality could be held liable if a judge or jury finds in favor of the plaintiff in this case. The wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city is seeking $10 million in damages. A New York City attorney said that although she has not yet reviewed the lawsuit, she said the young father’s death was a case of “tragic circumstance.” Police are trained to react professionally in chaotic situations and if it is determined the police acted prematurely or without just cause in the wrongful death of this young man, the city may have to pay a hefty price for that mistake.

Source: New York Daily News, “Fatherless boy sues city for $10M, claiming cops shot and let dad die after mistaking him for armed robber,” Jennifer H. Cunningham, Oct. 16, 2012