By Farhan Naqvi, Personal Injury Lawyer in Las Vegas
It appears that a deadly police shooting in Summerlin will soon wind up in civil court.
On September 28, a coroner’s inquest found that Metro police’s fatal shooting of Erik Scott outside a Costco store was justified. The verdict prompted the victim’s father, Bill Scott, to declare that he would soon be filing a lawsuit against Metro Police, the Clark County Sheriff’s office, the county itself, and Costco.
A seven-member Clark County coroner’s inquest jury unanimously ruled that Metro officer Thomas Mendiola was justified in the shooting. Mendiola and other officers testified that they saw Scott reaching for his gun, which was under the back of the victim’s shirt. After Scott was shot, the officers discovered that the weapon Scott had produced was still in its holster.
It may be tempting to conclude, “Well, since the coroner’s inquest cleared the police of wrongdoing, there’s no point in filing a civil suit.” But that’s an incorrect assumption.
A coroner’s inquest is significantly different from a criminal or civil trial. At a trial, both the prosecution or plaintiff and the defense have a chance to argue their side of the story in court. At an inquest, only the district attorney is allowed to present a case before the jury renders its verdict. So the jury only hears one side of the narrative.
Bill Scott claims that his son was walking to the parking lot when he was “ambushed” by three officers who aimed their weapons at him. The elder Scott maintains that his son was simply reaching for his gun in order to surrender it to the police when he was fired upon.
If a wrongful death lawsuit is filed and the plaintiff wins, a jury may award compensation which may include burial and funeral expenses, lost future income, damages for pain and suffering of family members, and possibly even punitive damages.
About the Editor: Farhan R. Naqvi is a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who has experience representing victims injured in car accidents, drunk driver crashes, truck wrecks, slip and falls, taxi cab accidents, and bicycle crashes. He also has experience handling spine injury, product liability, underinsured/uninsured driver, and wrongful death cases. If you’ve been seriously hurt in an accident in Summerlin, North Las Vegas, Clark County, Henderson, Boulder City, Green Valley, or Pahrump, give Farhan a call at 702-553-1000 for a free, no-hassle consultation.