INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The parents of a black teenager fatally shot by Indianapolis police after an alleged 2015 carjacking are suing the city and several police officers they contend used “deadly, excessive, unreasonable, unlawful and unnecessary force” against the youth.
The federal lawsuit filed Monday in Indianapolis on behalf of 15-year-old Andre Green’s parents and his estate alleges that the officers violated Green’s constitutional and civil rights when they shot him as they pursued a stolen car he was driving.
Following Green’s Aug. 9, 2015, death, Indianapolis police said two white officers and a black officer fired on the teen because the car he was driving struck the side of a patrol car and was accelerating toward the officers after they cornered the car in a cul-de-sac. Police said the officers feared for their lives.
But the family’s suit, which states that Green “made a youthful mistake but paid with his life,” contends officers misjudged the situation as the pursuit reached the cul-de-sac and that they weren’t “threatened with death” or serious injury when they shot Green.
“At no time during the course of these events did Andre either pose any reasonable threat of violence to the IMPD officers or do anything to justify the use of deadly, excessive, unreasonable, unlawful and unnecessary force against him,” the lawsuit states.
Police said the car was stolen at gunpoint, four shots were fired from it after the carjacking, and a handgun was found near Green’s body after he collapsed with fatal gunshot wounds outside the vehicle.
An attorney for Green’s parents, Jamon Hicks, said Tuesday that witnesses said Green did not have a gun when he exited the car, and that he also did not try to hit the officers with the car, but was instead trying to flee the officers after his two juvenile passengers bailed out.
Donnie Morgan, Indianapolis’ chief litigation counsel, said the city does not comment on pending litigation.
Indianapolis police spokesman Sgt. Kendale Adams said the internal investigation into the case has been completed and officers involved have “returned to full duty.” Adams said he was not aware of any discipline brought against them.
Hicks said the suit alleges police used excessive force that violated Green’s Fourth Amendment rights protecting citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, and that excessive force is deemed an unreasonable seizure.
“The allegation is that they breached Andre’s right to be free from excessive force by using excessive force,” he said. “His civil rights, his constitutional rights, were violated when the police used excessive force by shooting him multiple times when they didn’t need to.”
Hicks said a post-mortem examination found that Green was shot about five times, including once in the back, by at least one officer.
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, contends the city is liable in Green’s killing and alleges in part that it has failed to adequately train, supervise, control and discipline its officers.