Wrongful Death Lawsuits After Fatal Police Shootings

Fatal shootings by police officers are never far from the news headlines these days. Just when America is coming to terms with one, another comes along. As well as criminal proceedings being brought against officers in many of these cases, families often bring wrongful death lawsuits.

While we read about fatal police shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa in Oklahoma, some have occurred closer to home in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Police shootings prompt wrongful death lawsuits

Recently, the Virginian-Pilot reported how Norfolk police have shot and killed more people than any other agency in the state in recent years, 12 since 2010.

Many of these shootings have seen white officers killing black suspects.  The fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte by a police officer this month led to nights of disturbance, allegations and counter allegations.

Charlotte police say Scott was armed with a gun and police gave clear instructions for him to drop the firearm. However, police body cam and dashboard camera evidence that was released this week has not revealed the presence of a firearm.

Charlotte police have not charged the officer but the state Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting.

In Tulsa, police officer Betty Jo Shelby has been charged with manslaughter. She shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man.

Many of the families who have lost a loved one in a police shooting have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Media reports stated the City of Portsmouth reached a $1 million settlement with the family of William Chapman II, a teen shot and killed by a police officer at Wal-Mart.

Officer Stephen Rankin lost his job over the shooting and was convicted of voluntary manslaughter this year.

An officer does not have to be convicted for a family to win a wrongful death case against a police department or a city.

These are very difficult and harrowing cases. It’s important to hire an experienced lawyer because it can be a very uneven system.

If you have lost a loved one, taking legal action may be one of the last things you will consider and no amount of money is adequate compensation for a death. However, a death leaves a large number of costs and financial obligation. We have helped families of people who have been shot dead by police officers. If you have lost a loved one, call our Virginia wrongful death team at (757) 455-0077.


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