NYPD Faces Wrongful Death Over Police Shooting
No, this isn’t what you’d expect. Although police shootings are the number one reason for wrongful death lawsuits at the present time, this is a very different set of circumstances with different allegations. In this case, a NYC officer was accused of shooting his lover’s boyfriend. The NYPD has since been sued by the family of the boyfriend over the attack.
When it comes to police shootings, a determination is generally made as to whether or not the shooting was justified under the law and the department’s use of force policy. Typically, defendants claim that the incident happened with “bang-bang” timing, and they were genuinely in fear of their lives. In a case like this, the officer is completely outside the bounds of his duty as an NYPD officer. It would be hard to fabricate a theory of liability that held the NYPD accountable for off-duty conduct.
To sue the government, you must establish that 1) the government had a policy in place establishing that they had a duty of care, 2) the government employee violated that policy causing injury to another person. You can never sue the government over a bad policy or the conduct of a government official who contributed negligence in the commission of their duties. This bars the vast majority of negligence-based lawsuits against the government. However, some can get through.
Analyzing the allegations in this lawsuit
Police departments have duties of care to ensure that the individuals in whom they vest the power of the state act with dignity and ethics in the commission of their duty. When they furnish a man with a badge and a gun and he uses those tools to commit a crime against a girlfriend, the department can be held liable. The plaintiffs would need to establish that he abused his position of power in order to commit the crime, any part of it. Since the government had a duty to supervise and vet the officer, they can be held responsible for his lover’s death.
The day of the shooting, the officer had called in sick but was somehow allowed to take his service revolver and three clips which he used to execute the 20-year-old man who he believed was having an affair with his wife. The plaintiffs allege that the shooter had a history of mental illness and should not have been given a gun, or even a badge.
The victim was an employee of the wife’s dog-walking business. The husband took his own life shortly after putting 11 rounds in his wife’s supposed lover. It remains dubious that the two were having an affair.
The NYPD stands accused of giving a dangerous man with a history of untreated mental illness access to a service revolver he used to execute an innocent victim.
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