Shooting victims file lawsuits against Chester
The city of Chester and its police department are facing a pair lawsuits stemming from an armed robbery attempt that culminated in a deadly shootout on Rose Street in June 2010.
Valerie Myers, of Philadelphia, filed a wrongful death lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Myers claims police “unreasonably employed deadly force” in shooting her 16-year-old son, Andre Morales, and seeks $100,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit.
Luis Rodriguez, a Chester Housing Authority police officer injured during the shootout, also filed a lawsuit in the same federal court last week seeking $150,000 for injuries and damages sustained in the incident.
The shootout occurred during a month-plus “state of emergency” declared by former Mayor Wendell N. Butler Jr. after a series of homicides in 2010.
Morales and Shaquille Byrd exchanged gunfire with police as they exited the building from a second-floor window, according to court records at the time. During the gunfire, Rodriguez was struck in the upper right arm by a shot fired by police.
Fatally shot by police, Morales was found dead in a field behind a recreation center on Upland Avenue. Byrd, who sustained gunshot wounds, was caught on a porch along the 1100 block of Upland Avenue, where police allegedly took a handgun from him. He later was sentenced to 8-16 years in prison for his role in the holdup.
According to her lawsuit, Myers claims Morales was “unarmed and attempting to flee the area” when officers shot him in the back of his head, back and buttocks.
“The defendants intentionally and maliciously used excessive and deadly force against the decedent out of anger, and misplaced retaliation and revenge for the injury to another police officer,” the suit claims, specifically citing Rodriguez as the injured officer.
Rodriguez claims in his suit that the Chester Police Department failed to “train, supervise and discipline its officers” and that Chester police “have a history of improper use of force and deadly force.”
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