Wrongful death suit filed against city after excessive force used

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On Nov. 29, 2012, a police chase apparently turned into a shocking case of excessive force. Thirteen total Ohio officers chased a vehicle containing two suspects for a total of 23 minutes. The chase ended when the officers reportedly fired 137 shots at the vehicle in a Cleveland middle school parking lot. Six out of the 13 officers have been indicted on criminal charges. Additionally, the families of the victims have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the city for the officers’ excessive use of force.

The chase began because one officer thought he had heard a gunshot from the victims’ car. However, it was later determined that the car had simply backfired. The investigation revealed that the victims were unarmed.

Five supervisors were charged with dereliction of duty resulting from their poor judgment in the chase. An additional officer faces two charges of manslaughter, which would carry a three to 11 year prison sentence if convicted. He fired 49 out of the 137 total shots at the victims’ vehicle, and 15 of those shots were fired as he stood on the hood of the vehicle in close proximity to the victims.

Such a display of excessive force should never be permitted, and the Ohio police department claims that administrative discipline has been administered to 104 officers in the Cleveland department in addition to the criminal charges that the six are facing. The victims’ families have already filed wrongful death suits against the city. Even though a civil suit can be filed regardless of the outcome of a criminal trial, the fact that charges were brought against several officers may only make the wrongful death suit stronger.

Source: newsnet5.com, “6 Cleveland police officers indicted in 2012 deadly chase, shooting“, Sarah Buduson, June 1, 2014