A common point of contention in many police brutality incidents is whether an officer intentionally shot someone during an arrest or investigation. Regardless of the intent of the officer, it is still possible to file a civil case to be paid for the injuries caused by their actions.

Police officers in Gastonia, North Carolina shot a woman during an arrest of her brother.

Officer discharges firearm and hits innocent victim

The altercation began as the police approached a residence and attempted to arrest the victim’s brother for outstanding warrants. They also claim that he was armed with a gun at the time, and he refused to drop the gun after several verbal commands from the officers. At some point during this argument between her brother and the officers, a firearm from one of the officers on the scene discharged and hit the woman in her chest. She survived her injuries but required medical treatment. A spokesperson issued a statement on behalf of the victim where she claims that her brother was not armed and she put up her hands and warned that there were children present as soon as the police arrived. The family also claims that several shots were fired through their back door despite only one hitting the victim.

The police claim that the shooting was an honest accident that occurred during the process of a legitimate arrest. The officer who fired the shot had only been with the Gastonia department for about a year when this incident happened. He was placed on administrative leave with pay while the shooting is investigated, but the family of the victim is asking for him to be terminated immediately.

The State Bureau of Investigation released the identity of the 24 year old male officer at fault for the shooting, but The local district attorney had not issued any statements regarding whether criminal charges would be filed against him or not.

Should the officer be held responsible? 

Whether a shooting such as this is an accident or not, police officers are still held to a certain standard of care while they are engaged in their law enforcement duties. A breach of these obligations can form the basis for a civil lawsuit against the officer and the department. A breach of the relevant standard care that applies to any situation can become a civil negligence lawsuit with the help of an injury attorney. The damages element of a negligence case will factor in things like the victim’s injuries and trauma to ask for a monetary amount from the person or agency responsible. Even if the local prosecutor in Gastonia decides to not bring any criminal charges related to unnecessary use of force, the victim still has the right to retain their own counsel and pursue a civil claim.

Attorneys can bring a lawsuit on your behalf

There are lawyers who specialize in cases of police brutality and other forms of misconduct. You can contact J. Boyce Garland, Jr. Attorney at Law for assistance after an altercation with the local police in Gastonia or nearby towns.


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