Earlier this month, the long-time partner of a man who was killed by the Fairfax Police Department filed suit against the Department seeking $12 million in damages for her loss. According to a report by CBS DC, the lawsuit that was filed in federal court claims that the police chief and three unnamed officers engaged in wrongful conduct that was grossly negligent and caused the wrongful death of her loved one.
Evidently, back in August of this year the woman called 911 during an argument that the couple was having. At some point during the encounter, police shot the woman’s partner in the chest despite several witness reports that he was unarmed. The man died shortly after. The cause of death was officially listed as loss of blood.
The woman told reporters that she filed the suit to get some answers for herself and for her two teenage daughters. The Fairfax Police Department has thus far refused to discuss the case, or to say whether it believes that the shooting was justified.
Excessive Police Force Can Lead to Civil Liability
The police are entitled to use deadly force in some situations. However, there are very strict protocols in place regulating the use of deadly force, and in general deadly force is not permitted unless there is a grave danger to an officer or a civilian.
However, police officers are human and can make mistakes in a time when nerves run hot. These mistakes can come at a deadly cost.
In some cases, the police department (and the city that employs it) can be held financially liable for a loss that loved ones sustain as a result of their negligence. This is called a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Suits in DC
A wrongful death suit must be brought by the appropriate person. In Washington DC, the suit is permitted to be brought by a spouse or a domestic partner. If there is no person meeting this requirement, the “next of kin” may file suit. Next of kin may include children, parents, or siblings.
In the case above, it seems as though the woman was not married to the victim of the police conduct. However, the article refers to her as his “long-time partner,” so it is likely that she will qualify under the statute as a “domestic partner.”
Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Wrongful Police Conduct?
If you have recently lost a loved one due to what you believe was the inappropriate action of the police, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a wrongful death action. Of course, the police department and the city are prepared for these types of claims, and they will not likely admit fault and offer compensation without a fight. Therefore, having a dedicated wrongful death attorney will be beneficial in order to facilitate the process and convince the judge or jury that you deserve compensation for your loss. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
DC Court of Appeals Determines Hospital Is Liable for Conduct of Temporary Nurse, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 31, 2014
Staffer to US Senator Dies as a Result of a Hit and Run Accident, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2014
Misplaced Construction Sign Results in $100,000 Settlement with St. Louis County, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2014