City Suffers Nearly as Many Police Shootings as 10X More Populous New York
“Mr. Sowell presented no threat to anyone and was not carrying a gun – let alone shooting one – when Defendants killed him.” – Lawsuit
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 10 – The family of the late Donte Sowell, a father of four shot dead from behind by a hail of police bullets January 15th, sued the City of Indianapolis, a security guard firm and the property management firm that employed them in federal court today.
“Mr. Sowell’s many gunshot wounds confirm that he was shot from behind. Witnesses confirm that he was unarmed and had surrendered to police at the time he was killed. The police recovered no gun from Mr. Sowell, even though they were the first people to reach him after having killed him,” said Sowell family attorney Ruth Brown of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law.
“Yet within hours of the shooting, police spokespersons falsely claimed that Mr. Sowell had initiated a ‘gun battle’ with them. Those claims are a fiction invented to justify shooting an unarmed father of four in the back.”
Compounding the family’s frustration about the sweeping false statements made by police about Mr. Sowell is the near-total black-out of information from the police concerning his death. Not only have police never once claimed to have recovered a weapon from Mr. Sowell, they have stonewalled his family’s requests for police reports, ballistics tests, and police radio transmissions, and have even refused to confirm whether or not they have any body camera or other video footage of the shooting.
“The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has refused to produce video recordings of the shooting or even say definitively whether they exist, in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and other laws,” said Attorney Matt Topic, also of Loevy & Loevy. “The suggestion that the families of police shooting victims, the press, and the public should simply accept government accounts of what happened without seeing actual video evidence is offensive to a free society and violates the law.”
Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law is one of the largest civil rights law firms in the country with offices in Chicago and Boulder. Loevy & Loevy has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country over the past decade. Loevy & Loevy also represents journalists, activists, and the general public to enforce open records laws and hold elected officials accountable. Copies of the suit, Rachel Long, as Administrator for the Estate of Donte Lamont Sowell v. City of Indianapolis, et al., #1:15-cv-00252, are available here.