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Wrongful Death Lawsuits After Fatal Police Shootings

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

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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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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