Massachusetts mother sues after teen shot by officers

In 2006, a Plymouth, Massachusetts, teen was shot to death by two police officers. Three years later, the late teen’s mother sued the two officers and the city in a wrongful death lawsuit U.S. District Court in Boston.

In her lawsuit, the mother alleges that the police officers’ actions were rushed when the fired 11 shots at the 16-year-old boy. The officers were dispatched to a burglar alarm at a liquor store at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2006.

When they arrived, they spotted the teen in a Toyota with expired license plates running a red light. According to reports, the officers attempted to pull the teen over but he wouldn’t stop. After a short chase, the teen crashed into a stone wall.

The lawsuit alleges that the teen, unarmed, was shot and killed by the officers as he attempted to drive away. The attorney representing the police officers and the town allege that the officers had a right to use deadly force against the teen because they felt that their lives were in danger when the teen reportedly accelerated the car in their direction.

In 2009 after an investigation, a Plymouth County district attorney decided not to pursue criminal charges against the officers, reasoning that the teen posed an immediate threat to the officers.

The officers and the town have asked that summary judgment be granted in the civil wrongful death case. The judge presiding in the case said last week that a decision is expected by sometime next month.

When someone is killed as a result of criminal or negligent behavior on behalf of another person or entity, the decedent’s family is able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible. However, the family has the burden of proving that the criminal or negligent behavior existed.

Source: Patriot Ledger, “Judgment expected next month in Plymouth wrongful-death suit,” July 18, 2012