Suspect Shot by Officer Sues Joplin Police Department and Officer
The Joplin police department and one of its officers are being sued.
The plaintiff is actually a suspect preparing to go on trial May 22nd who was shot fleeing a domestic disturbance.
It happened back on November 30, 2015 near the Oxford apartments. That’s where Jeffrey Hill was shot four times by an officer.
He’s now suing the Joplin police department a nd Officer Seth Lugenbell
claiming the shooting was unreasonable and an excessive use of force.
Hill’s suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Western Missouri.
In it attorneys claim.
22. Plaintiff Hill did not have a weapon and never used or threatened to use deadly force. ?
Both the Joplin Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol conducted investigations. And both concluded the officer was justified in shooting.
Captain Rusty Rives was part of the JPD internal investigation. He said, “You look at what lethal options are, um, you know a motor vehicle can hurt someone or kill someone just as easily as a firearm or knife or something like that can.”
Hill’s lawsuit indicates that the officer shouted ‘Stop or I’ll shoot.’ But contends he was driving away as the officer approached the path of the vehicle. While witnesses, told police back then that Hill drove at the officer.
Capt. Rives added, “We looked at what the expectations would be. Mr. Hill did not exit the parking lot normally on the paved part of the roadway. He exited off the road onto the grass, beside a tree. That’s not normal behavior. That’s one of the things that was considered.”
The crime scene showed a sign mowed down and tire tracks in the grass where Captain Rives said officers were standing.
Police had been called to the Oxford apartments twice that night to reports that Hill broke a window in a domestic disturbance.
Captain Rives explained, “Subsequent calls would indicate persistence and might have a different driving factor. They (suspect) might be more motivated.You always expect some type of violent tendency, just never know what you’re gonna encounter.”
The suit states Hill’s injuries cost him the use of his right arm and more than two hundred seventy-nine thousand dollars in medical expenses and it seeks punitive damages.
Hill convinced a friend to help him leave the hospital and he fled the area. He was captured in April of 2016 in Kansas, extradited to Missouri and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, DWI, and driving while revoked. He goes to trial May 22 , 2017.