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Victim shot by police after car wreck

The young man climbed out of the rear window of his vehicle after the near-fatal crash in North Carolina. After potentially suffering some kind of injury, he limped to a nearby home on a rural road to seek help after the early morning collision. Then, he was shot by police.

The young African American man's family may be seeking civil action for a wrongful death claim after the Florida A&M student was gunned down by police officers. The 24-year-old man was banging on the residential door for aid, but the woman inside assumed he was a criminal attempting to rob her home. He was shot as he ran, unarmed, toward police officers whom he assumed had arrived to help him after the wreck. Authorities say they are not certain whether the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash and during subsequent events, but toxicology tests are under way.

Criminal charges were filed almost immediately against the officer in the case, who is under serious scrutiny for his poor decision-making in connection with the incident. The man went before a judge just days after the Sept. 14 shooting. Further, he was charged with manslaughter just 19 hours after the fatal incident, in one of the first such cases pending against an officer in decades.

Civil rights advocates have raised critical questions about race in response to the case; that is, if the man had been caucasian, would he have been given time to explain himself rather than immediately being shot? Further, the qualifications of the officer who shot the victim are also under examination. NAACP leaders say police officers in the state might need to be re-trained in the use of deadly and non-lethal force; in this case, for example, the use of force should not have escalated past the use of a Taser. The 27-year-old officer who killed the victim had only been on the force since 2011. In this case, the family of the victim could recover financial restitution from the officer himself and the department for a variety of civil claims.

Source:  www.charlotteobserver.com, "Questions surround fatal police shooting" Cleve R. Wootson Jr. & Ely Portillo, Sep. 16, 2013

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