Suit: Philadelphia cops planted evidence to justify shooting

AP News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2015 7:36 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The mother of a motorist shot and killed by police says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that officers planted evidence to make it seem as though he was reaching for a gun.

Tanya Brown-Dickerson's son, Brandon Tate-Brown, was killed in December during an overnight traffic stop.

District Attorney Seth Williams declined to charge the officers in Tate-Brown's death, saying the evidence, including surveillance video, corroborated the officers' story that he was reaching into his car for a loaded pistol when an officer shot and killed him.

But attorneys for Tate-Brown's mother said the video appears to show he was shot while fleeing police, not while reaching for a gun. The lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas, says police planted the gun later found in his car.

"The claim that Brandon Tate-Brown was reaching into the vehicle for a gun at the time he was shot is a complete fabrication on the part of the Defendant officers and the police department," the lawsuit says.

The city doesn't comment on pending litigation, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter said.

Besides seeking unspecified money damages, the lawsuit asks a judge to mandate 91 reforms suggested by the U.S. Department of Justice following a review of the city's nearly 400 officer-involved shootings since 2007. The review, completed in March, found that poor training left police with the mistaken belief that fearing for their lives alone justifies using deadly force and that the city's investigations into officer-involved shootings lacked consistency, focus and timeliness.

The suit seeks class action status on behalf of anyone who has dealings with Philadelphia police.