University of South Alabama wrongful death suit dismissed

The University of South Alabama police headquarters was the scene of a fatal shooting following Mobile's annual BayFest celebration. The incident involved a campus police officer and a former Wetumpka High School student. Parents of the victim filed a wrongful death suit that has since been partially dismissed by the judge hearing the case.

After two separate incidents where the student "assaulted two people in two vehicles," according to the police chief, the student attempted entry into the police station. Surveillance camera footage revealed the former student had removed all clothing and was sweating profusely. An officer approached, drew a 9mm and fatally shot the victim. At issue is the fact that the officer had other options available, including pepper spray and a baton.

The Mobile county circuit court judge dismissed the case. The judge denied a motion for dismissal of the wrongful death suit against the campus police chief and the responsible officer. Police claimed the victim was under the influence of a mind-altering substance, but this has not yet been confirmed or denied by the autopsy.

The parents of the victim may still receive compensation for their pain and suffering as the case continues against the responsible parties. Their case against the officer largely hinges on the appearance that the responsible officer had other options besides shooting the victim. The police chief is also potentially culpable because anyone in that position should ensure that all officers are prepared to use only the minimum required force in potentially violent encounters. An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to find evidence that supports the parents' claim for compensation.

Source: The Wetumpka Herald, "Judge dismisses wrongful death suit against USA," Kevin Taylor, Feb. 13, 2013

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