A lawsuit relating to the death of Steven Jerold Thompson during an encounter with Florida police in 2014 will be going ahead, despite efforts by the Deputy involved to have the case thrown out. Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Gerald Wengert, is accused of shooting Thompson dead at the Cypress Grove apartment complex in June 2014. Wengert, who was investigating the theft of an iPhone at the time, claims that Thompson ran away and shot at the deputies in attendance, a claim which has been h2ly denied by Thompson’s representatives.
U.S District Judge Marcia Cooke dismissed Wengert’s attempt to have the wrongful death suit dropped, as the fact that Thompson’s estate dispute numerous aspects of the Deputy’s statement indicates there is some investigation to be done before deciding in favor of either plaintiff or defendant. It may be relevant to note that Wengert has also faced at least three other excessive force claims in the past.
According to Mr. Thompson’s estate, the 26-year-old had happened upon the deputies in the parking lot of the apartment complex, as they investigate the theft of an iPhone. The signal coming from the device had been traced to the building, although not to the immediate vicinity of where Thompson stumbled across the deputies. While Thompson did not match the description of the suspect, say his estate, Wengert chased him, eventually opening fire and continuing to fire at Thompson’s body once he had fallen to the ground. It has been stated that Thompson was merely trying to return to an apartment within the building, when the tragic incident unfolded.
The wrongful death suit maintains that Thompson was unarmed at the time of shooting and that his DNA, found on a firearm, is consistent with the gun having been swiped across his body after the incident. Thompson’s fingerprints were not found on the weapon. It is also alleged that Wengert prevented emergency services from attending to the victim in a timely manner. Evidence from the Sheriff’s office is still outstanding.
Conversely, Deputy Wengert states that Thompson did not comply with requests for cooperation, fled into the apartment building, and shot at the officers using the firearm which was found on the scene.
Thompson’s attorney has confirmed she is pursuing a trial for wrongful death.
If your loved one was involved in an accident leading to their death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Through a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover monetary compensation and damages relating to the pain and suffering of your loved one prior to their death, loss of their expected future earnings, medical expenses, and loss of their companionship, amongst others.
If you feel that you are eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, your first step should be contacting an expert Miami wrongful death attorney to seek legal representation. The legalities can be complex, and navigating them without legal expertise can be a daunting prospect.