Atlanta, GA (Law Firm Newswire) January 11, 2013 – Wrongful death may happen at the hands of law enforcement. When it does, there are consequences.
“This was a difficult situation for the family involved. An unarmed man was shot to death by police after a car chase. When the wrongful death case got to court, the jury awarded the plaintiff $9 million,” explained Stephen Ozcomert, an Atlanta injury lawyer, who practices personal injury, accidents and malpractice law in Georgia.
The facts of the case were that deputies travelling in an unmarked cruiser began to follow a suspected drunken driver. They put in a call for backup when the 29-year-old man crashed into several parked cars. The man was then wedged tightly between the cars he had hit when he suddenly put his vehicle into reverse and rammed a police car. In the process, he also knocked an officer down.
Suddenly, there was a hail of bullets. When it was all over, at least 61 shots had been fired. It appeared that once one officer started to fire a weapon, all of them did, and it did not stop until the man was dead. The dead man was a married father of two, whose wife hired an injury lawyer to obtain compensation for her husband’s death. With two young children, she had no place to turn but the courts.
“This was a case that no one would soon forget. It isn’t often that police open fire in such an all encompassing manner, with several officers firing all at once. It is even more stunning that they were firing at a man they believed to be drunk and who had not threatened them with any weapon – other than using his vehicle as a battering ram. He was fairly inebriated and likely did not completely comprehend what he was doing in the first place,” Ozcomert added.
The jury apparently felt the same way, as they awarded the man’s widow and his two children $9 million. It will not bring the man back, but it will allow his family to move forward with their lives as best as they can under the circumstances.
It is not clear what kind of discipline, if any, was handed out to the officers involved in this case, but certainly the situation was under review. The high dollar amount of the settlement speaks volumes about what a lay jury thinks of wrongful death situations like this. “If you need someone in your corner to make sense of a situation like this, call me. It’s what I do, and I can help you,” added injury lawyer Ozcomert.
Stephen M. Ozcomert, PC
215 North McDonough Street
Decatur, GA 30030
Call: (404) 370-1000