The family of a man fatally shot by a police officer during a chase sued the Strongsville Police Department, claiming the officer had no reason to shoot him.
Roy Evans Jr. was driving home with his family last March when a police officer started following him because his van’s headlights were turned off. Evans, however, wouldn’t stop the car. The police finally put out spike strips that popped the van’s tires. When the van stopped, a Strongsville supervisor told all the officers to stay in their vehicles and follow felony call out procedures instead of running up to the van.
Officer Jason Miller and another policeman, however, disregarded the order and ran up the van anyway. Miller said he ran up to the van and yelled at Evans to show his hands. When he came up the van, he said he saw Evans drop one of his hands. Miller admitted he thought Evans was reaching for a weapon and was afraid for his life.
“It was clear that this was going to be a fight and I thought for sure that he was coming up with a weapon,” Miller said. “So I took one shot at his chest hoping that would stop, actually I was quite surprised to find that he did not stop.”
The lawsuit states that Evans posed no threat to the officer or anyone else. The officers were able to see inside his van to see that he was unarmed and had his hands on the steering wheel.
Evan’s girlfriend, Amanda Pauley, said he didn’t stop the van because he was on parole and didn’t have his license.
Pauley’s lawyer, Joseph Scott, said the family experienced a traumatic event.
“These are very, very young children who were present for this, that watched their father get gunned down this way,” he said. “They are literally trapped in a nightmare that I don’t know that they’ll ever get out of. They’re struggling to deal with this, being children of such tender age, and it’s going to take a long time for them to realize a sense of normalcy.”
In August, a Medina County Grand Jury cleared Miller of all charges.
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages for civil rights violations, wrongful death and wanton and reckless conduct.
This isn’t the first time a police officer has been accused of killing someone. Last May, a William Spates was shot by an officer during a traffic stop in Portage, Indiana.
Officer Grant Crizer stopped Spates for failing to stop at a stop sign. When Spates stopped his vehicle, he appeared very emotional and said that he messed up and didn’t want to go back to jail. Crizer asked Spates to get out of his car several times and even used a stun gun on him. Spates didn’t listen and drove his vehicle into Crizer’s vehicle to push it away.
Crizer stepped in front of Spates’ vehicle with his gun drawn and ordered him to comply. When Crizer saw Spates reach for the gear shift, he fired eight shots through the windshield and passenger window.
Spates’ wife Marina filed a lawsuit against the police department in January, claiming Crizer used “unreasonable and unjustifiable excessive force” when shooting her husband.