The family of Lavall Hall, the mentally ill man who was shot dead by Miami Gardens police after brandishing a broom handle, has filed suit against the city.
The suit specifically names the city, Peter Ehrlich, and Eddo Trimino, the two police officers who were involved in the incident, and former Miami Gardens police chief Stephen Johnson. Johnson, of course, was fired this weekend after being arrested for trying to pay for the services of two prostitutes up in Broward County.
The suit claims that Officer Trimino's shooting of Hall was "without legal cause and excuse," and that the officers were illegally seizing Hall and violating his Fourth Amendment rights. The negligible death lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $15,000.
The suit was filed by Hall's mother Catherine Daniels and Melissa Edwards, the mother of Hall's only child, Aariayah.
On February 15, Daniels had called police to help control her son, who was having an episode. Hall ended up reacting aggressively, and allegedly swung a broomstick at the officers.
Trimino responded by shooting Hall dead. The suit claims, however, that Hall did not commit a crime and that the officers knew this when they approached him. It further states that because Miami Gardens Police have been called to Daniels' home before for similar reasons, the officers should have known that Hall suffered from a mental condition.
The suit claims that Trimino and Ehrlich approached Hall aggressively, and Hall, because of his mental condition, was not able to properly understand their commands or communicate clearly with them. Both officers deployed Tasers, but they were ineffective and Trimino fired his gun.
The suit argues that Hall had presented no lethal threat to either officer at any time. It claims that the officer's conduct was illegal and excessive.
Johnson's arrest this weekend, meanwhile, doesn't directly factor into the complaint, but it's sure to become an issue if the civil case goes to trial. The police chief staunchly defended the two officers involved after the shooting. He's now publicly apologized for getting caught up in the prostitution sting and cited "stress" for sparking the poor choice.
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