PRESS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

GUNN FILES LAWSUIT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH

 

POLITICAL AND CIVIC LEADERS CALL FOR DOJ INVESTIGATION OF MONTGOMERY POLICE DEPARTMENT

We have filed a notice of claim as per the statutory requirements for filing state law based claims for wrongful death.  We have prepared and filed an 80-page complaint articulating claims under Alabama’s wrongful death statute and under 42 USC § 1983.

Additionally, political and civic leaders have written correspondence to the Attorney General of the United States to investigate the Montgomery Police Department manner of conducting investigative stops and use of force policies.

It is clear to us that Gregory Gunn’s death was unjustified in clear violation of the laws of the State of Alabama and the various constitutional rights he possessed as a citizen of the United States.

Causes of Action in the complaint, to wit:

  • COUNT I – 42 U.S.C. §1983 – Fourth Amendment (Illegal stop, frisk, and use of force leading to death — Defendant Smith);
  • COUNT II – 42 U.S.C. §1983 – Fourth Amendment(Use of excessive force leading to death — Defendant Smith);
  • COUNT III – 42 U.S.C. §1983 – Equal Protection – Fourteenth Amendment (Racial profiling and racially-motivated use of force — Defendant Smith);
  • COUNT IV – 42 U.S.C. §1983 – Supervisory and Municipal Liability – Fourth Amendment
  • (Illegal stop, frisk, and use of force; use of excessive force – Policy, custom or practice –Defendants Finley and City of Montgomery);
  • COUNT V – 42 U.S.C. §1983 – Supervisory and Municipal Liability – Inadequate Training
  • Fourth Amendment (Illegal stop, frisk, and use of force; use of excessive force –Defendants Finley and City of Montgomery);
  • COUNT VI – Neglect, carelessness, or unskillfulness causing wrongful death – Alabama law
  • (Illegal stop and use of force; use of excessive force — Defendant Smith);
  • COUNT VII – Neglect, carelessness, or unskillfulness causing wrongful death – Alabama law
  • (Inadequate policies and training authorizing unlawful investigative stops,  frisks, and use of force — Defendant Finley);
  • COUNT VIII – Vicarious/Respondeat Superior Liability – Wrongful death – Alabama law
  • (Defendant City of Montgomery);

We will aggressively litigate this case until resolution.  Consistent with testimony at the preliminary hearing of AC Smith, the shooting death of Greg Gunn was the proximate result of the use of excessive force and brutality.  The police officer illegally and without justification utilized deadly force under color of state law when he shot multiple times and killed Mr. Gunn, an unarmed, non-threatening senior citizen.  At no time was the police officer at any time in such imminent danger that justified the use of deadly force.  Mr. Gunn was not doing anything illegal nor was he acting suspicious.  Mr. Gunn was only a short distance from his home doing as he routinely did and that is to work, visit with friends and then walk home. The evidence adduced at the preliminary hearing in the criminal case failed to demonstrate that AC Smith had an articulatable basis for the stop, the frisk, the chase, the tasing or the shooting of Mr. Gunn.

Given the city’s regretful historic past of denial and recalcitrance with respect to its ills, we expect a long battle.  During this historic past, citizens of this city used the courts and civil disobedience to remedy wrongs city leaders failed to address.  During the bus boycott, city leaders failed to do the right thing. During the episode of the Bernard Whitehurst killing, the city leaders failed to do the right thing.  During the Todd Road incident, city leaders failed to do the right thing.  Those events of this city’s past revealed the recalcitrance of city leaders to forthrightly address its ills.

In the aftermath of Gregory Gunn’s death, its citizens, political leaders. Civic leaders and religious leaders have waited patiently for the city address the ills that led to death of Gregory Gunn.  That patience has borne no results.  The police department has maintained its status quo.

Given the hugely disparate versions of the incident recounted by AC Smith to the Alabama State Bureau of investigations testified to in open court, the city has failed to take immediate disciplinary action against AC Smith warranted in this matter. We can only conclude that the city has given its stamp of approval to the misconduct of this officer.  Furthermore, the city has failed to take curative action to assure that its police officers comply with United States Constitution and the Code of Alabama with regard to stop and frisks of its citizens.

It appears that the City will continue its legacy of blindly defending police misconduct illustrated in the Whitehurst case and the Todd Road case.  Notwithstanding  the courage shown by the State Bureau of investigation and our able District Attorney the city’s legacy of recalcitrance continues.  

Gunn v City – Complaint – Ex. A – file-stamped Notice of Claim to City

Gunn v City – Complaint – Ex. B – Certified letters of administration – 3-21-16

Gunn v City – Complaint – Ex. C – Transcript – Prelim. hearing – 3-24-16