Police officers recently shot and killed a California boy who was carrying a replica assault rifle. They apparently believed that the 13-year-old had a real gun. Police say that they ordered the boy to drop the gun and then shot him “several times.”
He fell on top of the weapon. According to the police, they only discovered that the gun wasn’t a real weapon after they secured the scene.
Can a family bring a wrongful death case against police officers who shoot and kill a loved one?
Most police officers are good people who take their duty to serve the public very seriously. Unfortunately, there will always be a bad apple or two who go beyond the bounds of the law and violate the rights of the people they swore to protect. Police officers are only allowed to use force proportionate to the threat they face. If they use excessive force they may be held responsible for their victim’s injuries. Officers may be liable if they shoot someone without justification.
The parents of the California boy have brought a lawsuit against the officer that shot him. Cases like these hinge on the evidence. In that case, evidence has emerged that neighbors who saw the boy walking with the gun knew from the way he carried it that he was a child carrying a toy gun. The officer, a 24-year veteran, did not reach that same conclusion.
Cases like this have generated very large verdicts in the past. One 2010 case resulted in a $24 million verdict in favor of a boy who was paralyzed in a similar shooting. It’s very important to seek counsel from an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney immediately following a police shooting.