Family sues Akron officer for killing robbery suspect

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2016 5:52 PM

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The father of an unarmed robbery suspect fatally shot by a police officer after refusing to remove his right hand from his waistband filed a federal lawsuit on Monday claiming the shooting was unreasonable and the officer used excessive force.

William Lemmon Sr.'s lawsuit says 21-year-old William Lemmon Jr. was shot in September 2015 by Officer Brian Armstead one second after another officer shocked him with a stun gun. Officers had confronted Lemmon Jr. while responding to a report that two men, one of whom was armed, had robbed a nearby store.

The lawsuit claims Armstead killed Lemmon Jr. with "deliberate and reckless indifference."

A city spokeswoman said the city hadn't been served with the lawsuit and it's the city's policy not to comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, a group of officers stopped Lemmon Jr. on his bicycle and repeatedly demanded that he show his hands. It said Lemmon Jr. responded by swearing at the officers, insisted he hadn't done anything and said the officers would have to shoot him while keeping a hand inside the waistband of his jeans. Lemmon Jr. "partially fit" the description of one of the robbery suspects, it said, but officers hadn't witnessed him committing a crime.

Armstead fired at least four rounds at Lemmon Jr. after he was shocked, the lawsuit said. Lemmon Jr. died that day at a hospital.

The lawsuit said the confrontation lasted less than 90 seconds, it was broad daylight and none of the officers saw Lemmon Jr. with a weapon.

Summit County prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh ruled the shooting justified because officers thought Lemmon was armed when he lurched toward them.

The lawsuit doesn't include a money amount being sought in compensatory and punitive damages.