The girlfriend of a 19-year old man shot to death by Bergen County, New Jersey police has filed a federal wrongful death suit against the police department in Newark. The wrongful death suit alleges the police resorted to deadly force without justification or provocation.
According to reports, the man fled from a police interrogation regarding a domestic abuse allegation. The man allegedly fled into a garage, barricaded himself inside, and refused police demands to surrender. The man then allegedly came towards police carrying a hammer and a hand saw when the police shot him.
The wrongful death suit alleges that the man was attempting to turn his life around and worked for the city as a confidential informant in drug cases, and thus the police should have known that he did not pose a threat.
A wrongful death is one that occurs due to the negligence and/or carelessness of a person towards another or an institution entrusted with the victim's care. In this case, the suit alleges that the police acted negligently in shooting the man and thus, the police breached a duty of care that they owed to the man.
For a wrongful death suit to be filed, a personal representative for the victim's estate must be appointed. This person is typically a family member or an attorney authorized by the family to represent the victim's interests. In this case, the man's girlfriend filed the suit, as she is administrating his estate and caring for his infant son.
Wrongful deaths can occur at any place and any time. In many cases they can be caused by the recklessness of the very people who are most entrusted with the victim's security and safety. Fortunately, anyone who has lost a family member or loved one to the recklessness or negligence of another person or an institution is entitled to financial compensation in the form of monetary damages. This is to compensate the family for their loss, and to bring some sort of justice to the situation.
Source: NJ.com, "Girlfriend of Garfield teen killed by police files wrongful death lawsuit," Dan Ivers, Jan. 17, 2013