Fam­ily of man shot by po­lice sues county

Vic­tim died af­ter be­ing shot six times at his home

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Pamela Wood

Rel­a­tives of a man fa­tally shot by po­lice of­fi­cers in Bow­leys Quar­ters three years ago are su­ing the Bal­ti­more County Po­lice Depart­ment, al­leg­ing that of­fi­cers vi­o­lated his civil rights by fir­ing on him un­nec­es­sar­ily.

An at­tor­ney for the fam­ily of Jef­frey Gene Evans, 52, says he was shot six times by three county po­lice of­fi­cers at his home on the morn­ing of Dec. 14, 2015.

Evans’ girl­friend had called po­lice and re­ported that he had taken a large num­ber of pills. A po­lice of­fi­cer and medics went in­side and tried to talk Evans into go­ing to the hos­pi­tal, but he re­fused, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. At one point, he sat on the couch and later went into the kitchen and drank a beer.

More of­fi­cers were called to the home and they con­tin­ued to talk with Evans, but he in­sisted he did not want to go to the hos­pi­tal, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. The girl­friend was taken out­side of the home and as Evans con­tin­ued to refuse med­i­cal treat­ment, the of­fi­cers used a Taser on him, the law­suit al­leges.

Evans then reached into a drawer and pulled out kitchen knives and “ad­vanced on of­fi­cers with those knives,” forc­ing of­fi­cers to again use the Taser, and then shoot him, po­lice said at the time.

Kenneth Ravenell, an at­tor­ney for Evans’ rel­a­tives, claims that footage from a cam­era on the Taser shows Evans didn’t make any threat­en­ing moves to­ward the of­fi­cers.

“This man just wanted to be left alone and it was his ab­so­lute right to refuse to go to the hos­pi­tal,” Ravenell said. “If we’re there to try to save some­one, we don’t kill them.”

Ravenell said he filed the law­suit on the fam­ily’s be­half in Bal­ti­more County Cir­cuit Court on Fri­day. Ravenell rep­re­sents Evans’ three sis­ters and the mother of his grand­daugh­ter.

A spokes­woman for Bal­ti­more County gov­ern­ment de­clined to com­ment Fri­day, cit­ing the county’s pol­icy against dis­cussing pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion.

The three of­fi­cers who shot Evans — Of­fi­cer 1st Class Michael Spahn, Of­fi­cer Chad Canup and Of­fi­cer Michael Pfaden­hauer — were cleared of wrong­do­ing by the state’s at­tor­ney and were not crim­i­nally charged. The county still em­ploys those of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to an em­ployee data­base. The law­suit also names two other po­lice of­fi­cers, Of­fi­cer Michaela Moore and Of­fi­cer 1st Class Adam Heavner, as de­fen­dants.

Ravenell said he be­lieves the Taser cam­era video will be cru­cial ev­i­dence in the case.

A 36-sec­ond video, pro­vided to The Sun by Ravenell’s of­fice, shows a man the lawyers iden­tify as Evans flail­ing about in a kitchen. Leads from the Taser elec­trodes are vis­i­ble.

In the video, the man moves to­ward the counter, opens a drawer and pulls out knives. He waves his arms around and ap­pears to be yelling, though what he says is not clear be­cause there is no au­dio. The of­fi­cer whose Taser cam­era recorded the in­ci­dent is on the other side of an is­land from the man. The man drops to the ground.

The video does not ap­pear to show the man be­ing shot.

Ravenell said he ob­tained the video from po­lice af­ter fil­ing a re­quest un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

The law­suit also cites in­con­sis­tent state­ments by the of­fi­cers about how they claimed Evans ad­vanced to­ward them be­fore he was shot. Some said he moved to the left of the kitchen is­land, while oth­ers said he moved to­ward the right, the law­suit states.

The law­suit claims that the of­fi­cers “acted with de­lib­er­ate in­dif­fer­ence” to Evans’ con­sti­tu­tional rights. The law­suit seeks un­spec­i­fied dam­ages for Evans’ rel­a­tives.

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