Boynton Beach Family Files Suit After Police Shooting
A Boynton Beach family has elected to file a lawsuit against the city of Boynton Beach and an officer involved in the death of their loved one. In this case, the 13-year-old boy was being pursued by an officer after being caught riding a dirt bike. As the boy attempted to escape, he crashed his dirt bike and died.
The family, who is Black, contends that the officer had caused two similar deaths during unlawful pursuits and that he was a known danger to the community, particularly the Black community. The officer was involved in the death of a 5-year-old boy during what the plaintiffs have described as an unlawful pursuit.
Every police department has a use of force and pursuit policy. Both policies can save or take lives. When it comes to small motor vehicles like dirt bikes, the rules concerning their use on roadways is unclear. Police seeing a vehicle being used on the roadway can detain an individual. But what happens if that individual runs?
Again, every department would have a pursuit policy concerning small vehicles. In many cities, police are trained not to pursue because the danger to the public is greater than any perceived benefit to society.
Officer involved in prior disciplinary incidents
The officer has been involved in two other deaths, according to the family, and has a history of insubordination. He has since been fired from the police department but it wasn’t until three people died that the department determined that the officer was a liability. For that reason, the department may be held liable for keeping a dangerous officer onboard even after several prior policy violations.
Lawsuits against law enforcement
Law enforcement can never be sued for a bad policy or for an honest mistake. However, they can be sued if they violate an internal policy established either by the legislature or internally by the department. It is therefore common in civil lawsuits against law enforcement for plaintiffs to allege that the officer violated a policy the department had established. In this case, the officer is accused of repeatedly violating the pursuit policy which led to the deaths of at least two people.
An investigation conducted by FHP cleared the officer of criminal wrongdoing and laid the blame on the teen for operating his vehicle erratically. The teen could be seen on surveillance video filling up the gas tank of his dirt bike before speeding away.
Often, in cases like this, a review of the situation conducted by prosecutors is meant only to analyze whether or not criminal charges are appropriate. While a policy violation is actionable for a civil lawsuit, it may not rise to the standard of a crime. An internal investigation determined that a policy violation did occur and the officer was fired on that basis.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The Matassini Law Firm helps grieving families file lawsuits against negligent parties in wrongful death lawsuits. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.