A California man family feels that the two deputies responsible for their loved one’s death should be held accountable for what they say were irresponsible actions. Accordingly, they have filed a wrongful death claim at the county governmental level. Two deputies shot and killed a man during an arrest stop. The sheriff’s office claims that the deputies’ actions were justified, as the man was speeding toward them after the stop. The claim, however, asserts that the shooting was unwarranted, even though there was a history between the man and law enforcement.

Authorities allege that the man in question was threatening one of the deputies, using his car as a weapon and forcing the deputies to protect themselves. According to the family, no such threat was made. In addition, the family further asserts that deputies shot the man in the back, disproving the authorities’ explanation — a fact allegedly backed up by a surveillance video.

The court has since sealed the surveillance video, meaning no one outside the two parties involved will see it. The plaintiffs and their attorneys have seen the video, and it has also been made available to the sheriff’s office, which declined to comment. While the family’s attorneys expect the county to dismiss the claim it filed with the government, such an action would likely be followed by federal civil litigation, based upon claims that the deputies and the sheriff’s department violated the civil rights of the man who was shot and killed.

Families in California and elsewhere retain the right to litigate a wrongful death claim against those who have harmed loved ones through actions deemed to be negligent or intentional. Filing a claim won’t lessen the personal loss, nor will winning a case change what has already occurred. A successful result, however, could make the family feel they have achieved some sense of justice against those they claim are responsible for such irreparable harm.

Source: contracostatimes.com, Family files claim after man killed by deputies, No author, Oct. 16, 2013