A white police officer plans to sue the estate of a black teenager he shot dead because he was traumatized by the fact that he accidentally killed the teen’s neighbor in the incident, his lawyer said Saturday.
“The damage is my client feels horrible that Bettie Davis is dead because of the actions he was forced to take,” attorney Joe Brodsky told AFP.
“It’s affected him greatly. It’s a burden he’s going to have to carry for the rest of his life.”
The December 26 shooting came as the US city was reeling from a series of incidents in which police were accused of being too ready to pull the trigger on their service weapons.
The family of LeGrier, 19, has repeatedly said there was no reason why police should have opened fire when responding to a domestic disturbance at their home. They have sued both the city and the officer who shot him: Robert Rialmo, 27.
A wrongful death suit filed by LeGrier’s father, Antonio, argues that the teen “never had possession or control of a weapon” and was not a threat to Rialmo or anyone else at any point.
Rialmo was standing outside when he opened fire on LeGrier, who was inside the building, the lawsuit said. Antonio LeGrier is also suing for wrongful arrest after police made him leave his dying son in order to file a statement about the incident.
City officials have apologized for the death of Davis, a 55-year old mother of five, but have said LeGrier’s shooting was justified.
The city has released few details about the incident except to say that LeGrier was brandishing a baseball bat when he was shot after his father called for help in the wee hours of the morning.
LeGrier, an engineering student who was struggling with mental health problems, had called 911 for help several times earlier that evening but the dispatcher did not send an officer to the house until his father called.
Brodsky said that makes the incident a “double tragedy because if my client had advance knowledge he was dealing with a mentally ill person he may have handled this in a different way.”