Recently, the family of a 25-year old Anaheim, California man who was shot and killed by police in July 2011 while fleeing from police has sought vital information from the City of Anaheim on the police officer who shot him in order to prove a pattern of conduct on the part of the police. This motion, filed by the man's personal representative, is part of a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the man's family against the Anaheim police department.
Specifically, the family seeks to acquire documents in the discovery process that the same police officer was involved in another shooting the day after the man's death and was not reprimanded or given any special training regarding the use of force. The city has claimed that turning the documents over would complicate its review of whether or not criminal charges should be filed.
Wrongful deaths are those that occur due to the negligence of another person. They can occur where a person or institution is entrusted with the care of another and this person or institution breaches that duty, or wrongful deaths can occur where someone entrusted with the public safety breaches that duty to the public -- as allegedly occurred in this case.
In this particular case, the police officer allegedly used deadly force when it was not necessary, breaching a duty of care that he owed to the man.
Police officers have obligations toward the public to keep their communities safe from criminals, but at the same time, they have a duty to prevent themselves from harming bystanders or suspects where there is no threat of deadly force.
Wrongful deaths can occur at any time and any place. The death of a family member or loved one can cause great emotional and financial turmoil for the survivors. Fortunately, the family members of those lost to a wrongful death are entitled to not only a personal injury judgment against the defendant for negligence but also to an appropriate financial compensation. These steps can help heal the damage caused by the defendant's negligent conduct.
Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Family of Man killed by Anaheim police seeks more info on officer," Jan. 7, 2013