Sheriff’s office sued in shooting death of autistic teen
The parents of an 18-year-old autistic boy who was shot and killed by a deputy have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the West Palm Beach Sheriff’s office. The parents say the deputy did not try to calm their son down and did not wait for backup to arrive, but instead fired 11 shots, fatally striking the teen in his chest.
According to investigators with the sheriff’s office, the deputy did not violate agency policies and was in compliance with the self-defense laws in Florida. The lawsuit, however, says that the teenager was not armed when he was shot and seeks damages of at least $15,000.
The parents said that deputies have been out to their home twice before to deal with their son when he was agitated. Those deputies had been able to calm their son down. According to the investigators’ reports, the dispatcher told the deputy responding to the teen’s home that he had a tree trimmer and a hammer, and he had threatened to harm anyone who tried to approach him.
The lawsuit claims that the deputy told the teen to drop those weapons, which he did. The deputy, however, drew his weapon and fired. The parents and the teen’s sister watched as he died in the street.
The investigators report recounts a different story. It says that the teen kept advancing on the deputy and was reaching into the waistband of his pants. In a video that was made at the scene, the deputy said he was “fearful that he was gonna kill me, so I had to shoot back and instincts just took over.” According to the State Attorney’s Office, the deputy was about 23 feet away from the teenager when the shots were fired.
If a loved one has lost his of her life due to the negligence of another, contact a Florida personal injury attorney. You may have a claim for damages in a civil lawsuit. While nothing can compensate for such a tragedy, a measure of legal justice may help in the grieving process and bring at least a level of peace as you cope with the loss.
Source: articles.sun-sentinel, – Ben Wolford, August 1, 2013