There is no denying that police officers in West Virginia and across the country have difficult jobs. Many are simply hard working individuals who want to protect their fellow citizens. However, a mistake made by officers can have serious, even deadly, consequences for an innocent person. The family of a 71-year-old man recently filed a wrongful death suit against several state troopers, claiming their actions led to their family member’s death.
According to reports, police found evidence that another man had a significant amount of marijuana growing on his property. Because neighbors claimed that this man and the now-deceased victim were acquaintances (the victim had once bailed the former out of jail), a warrant was issued to search the elderly man’s house in an effort to locate the man suspected of growing drugs. Court papers filed on behalf of the estate of the man claim that police burst into the man’s house in Sept. 2012 while he was sleeping. It was alleged that the man was placed in handcuffs, and he began experiencing breathing difficulty.
Although troopers apparently attempted to aid the man, he ultimately died. An autopsy revealed that he likely died from a cardiac arrhythmia, and his death was ruled a homicide. Court papers further claim that the autopsy revealed evidence of blunt force trauma; however, these injuries were not accounted for in the officer’s explanation of events. Police did not find the man they were looking for during the search, but the man arrived at the house later and was arrested after family members contacted the police. The lawsuit claims that there was no evidence that the deceased man have committed any illegal activity.
It is always difficult to lose a family member. However, it seems more tragic when a death seems to have been preventable and is believed to have been the result of the actions from those who are trusted to protect and serve individuals who may not be able to do so for him- or herself. For families in West Virginia who have lost a loved one due to the apparent negligent acts of another, a wrongful death lawsuit may be an option to help cope with the financial ramifications of a person’s death, including funeral expenses and other financial losses recognized by applicable laws.
Source: wboy.com, “Wrongful death suit filed in connection with 2012 police search“, Linda Harris, Sept. 16, 2014