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Lawsuit Claims Police Knew Unarmed Man Was Mentally Ill Before Shooting him

The family of Jontell Reedom, a mentally ill Black man who was shot and killed by police, have filed a lawsuit that alleges police officers knew about his mental condition and should have de-escalated the confrontation.

Jontell’s mother, Anyka Harris, filed the suit on Aug. 22 in federal court, naming the city of Tulare, California, its police department and the officers who killed her son as the defendants, the Fresno Bee reported.

The wrongful death suit accuses the police of excessive force, negligence and inadequate police training. The suit also states that Reedom, who was 27, was unarmed “and did not pose any immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to anyone at the time of the shooting.” 

According to police statements, the officers involved the shooting were responding to a 911 call of an assault on a bus driver on March 12 when they encountered Reedom. When he resisted arrest, one of the officer used a Taser on him, but Reedom began fighting back.

Officers opened fire, hitting Reedom several times. He died from a gunshot wound to his head, according to the death certificate. The officers failed to treat him immediately or call medical personnel, the suit alleged.

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