City Lawyers Motion to Dismiss Family’s Lawsuit Over Fatal Shooting, Claiming Officers Acted Appropriately

Lansing, Michigan – The city is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the family of Stephen Romero, who was fatally shot by police officers in December. The city’s attorneys submitted a motion and brief in federal court, arguing that the claims made in the lawsuit are baseless and that the officers are protected by qualified immunity. They further contend that the family has failed to demonstrate a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which safeguards against excessive force and unlawful searches and seizures.

The incident unfolded on December 1, when police officers responded to reports of a domestic assault in progress at a residence on Massachusetts Avenue. Upon arrival, they were informed that a woman had been shot, although they later discovered that this was not the case. At approximately 11:27 p.m., the officers shot and killed 33-year-old Stephen Romero outside the home.

The city’s attorneys assert that the officers acted appropriately, despite the tragic outcome of the incident. Lansing Police Department spokesperson Jordan Gulkis declined to offer any comments on the matter. James Harrington, an attorney from the Fieger Law firm representing the Romero family, expressed his confidence that the judge will deny the city’s request for dismissal. In his view, the city’s motion is routine in lawsuits of this nature.

Harrington firmly believes that Romero was surrendering at the time of the shooting, emphasizing that anyone who watches the video footage can discern his compliance. The attorney previously criticized the police for using a “shoot and kill and sort it out later approach,” arguing that they failed to employ de-escalation techniques. The officers involved, identified as Donovan Moore and Jeff Kurtz, have been placed on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police.

The lawsuit alleges unlawful use of force, asserting that Romero’s actions were non-threatening and compliant. It further accuses the city of inadequate officer training and claims that Moore and Kurtz failed to intervene during the shooting to prevent Romero’s death.

As the case progresses, it remains to be seen how the court will weigh the arguments and evidence presented by both parties. The outcome of this legal battle could have significant implications for police accountability and the use of force in similar situations.

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