Family of Unarmed Man Sue Schenectady Police
The family of Joshua Scism, who was shot and killed by two undercover policemen in 2016, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Schenectady Police Department.
According to the lawsuit, Scism was known for trying to get people who were involved in criminal activity off his street. On June 13, 2016, he went up to the unmarked car where two undercover police detectives were sitting and asked them to move along. They apparently didn’t like what Scism had to say and got out of their vehicle. That’s when they got into an altercation with Scism and shot him in the back of the head.
The lawsuit stated that detectives Brett Ferris and Ryan Kent shot Scism so many times that there were bullet holes near the homes where he was shot. When Scism’s wife ran out of the house to see what was going on, the detectives allegedly told her to go back inside unless she also wanted to get shot.
Scism was taken to Ellis Hospital and pronounced dead shortly after.
Sgt. Matthew Dearing, a city police spokesman, said that the two detectives didn’t do anything wrong and the lawsuit doesn’t pain the entire picture.
“The factual allegations outlined in their lawsuit omits key relevant details about what actually happened on that day,” he said.
Police claimed that Scism exchanged a few words with the detectives that day and walked away shortly after. However, Scism reportedly lifted up his shirt to show a handgun tucked in his waistband. That’s when Ferris and Kent drew their weapons. Scism allegedly pulled out his gun and pointed it at the detectives before one of them shot him several times.
The lawsuit requests an unspecified amount of monetary damages.
It’s unfortunate that this isn’t the only time police have been accused of killing an unarmed man. In April, a Boston woman filed a lawsuit against the city after police fatally shot her son in October 2016.
Hope Coleman called for help when her son Terrence Coleman, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was having an episode. Police arrived to her home and shot Terrence after he allegedly swung a knife at them. His mother, however, denies that he had a knife.
“I need justice,” she said. “This is going on too long and not just my son, for everyone else. I’m just tired of killing of young black brothers, or any other nationality. It’s not right.”
If you believe your loved one has suffered from a wrongful death, it may be in your best interest to call Cohen & Cohen to set up your free consultation with lawyers by your side who may be able to to help you get the justice you deserve.