Police Sued for Fatality in High-Speed Chase

     TOLEDO, Ohio (CN) – Police killed an innocent motorist during an “unsupervised, chaotic” high-speed chase, that man’s sons claim in Federal Court.
     The chase stemmed from attempts by Toledo police to arrest a suspect named Brian Lipp who had escaped their grasp on numerous occasions, according to the April 28 complaint.
     It was Sept. 3, 2011, “the first day of the Labor Day holiday weekend,” when Lipp led officers on a high-speed chase through “industrial and residential sections of the city,” with no control or intervention from supervisors as required by police code.
     “Federal agents participating in the search for Lipp monitored radio traffic during the pursuit,” the complaint states. “They describe nothing short of chaos, with no TPD supervisory presence directing TPD officers.”
     Lipp eventually entered I-75 via an exit ramp.
     “Traveling in the wrong direction, [officers] consciously, deliberately, negligently, wantonly, recklessly, and with deliberate indifference chose to pursue Lipp onto the major freeway through Toledo in the wrong direction at freeway speeds,” the complaint states.
     James Collins was driving north on the freeway when Officer David O’Brien’s cruiser, traveling in the wrong direction after Lipp at 115 mph, collided with him.
     Joseph, J. Bart and Jessup Collins say none of the officers at the scene provided their dying father with assistance.
     When Lipp pulled what turned by be a pellet gun, police volleyed 40 to 50 rounds, killing him, according to media reports.
     Collins’ sons say Toledo and its police chief Michael Navarre conducted only a cursory investigation of the fatal crash, “treating it as nothing more than a traffic incident.”
     “The city also destroyed all physical evidence, despite the request of Mr. Collins’s family, by selling the vehicle for scrap almost immediately,” according to the complaint.
     In addition to Toledo and Navarre, the complaint names 18 other officers as defendants, saying none has accepted responsibility for the death as more than a mere traffic accident.
     No officer or city staffer ever expressed condolences or offered assistance to the Collins family, instead publicly blaming James Collins for the collision, the complaint states.
     “Despite written policies to the contrary, the custom and practice of defendant city is to tolerate the use of excessive force and deadly force in vehicle pursuits, and to tolerate the use of vehicle pursuits without oversight or supervision, despite obvious risks,” the sons claim.
     The sons brought a similar federal complaint in 2013, which they later voluntarily dismissed.
     Attorney Scott Greenwood filed both the April 28 and the 2013 action, but a nearly identical complaint was also filed April 27 by a different attorney, Anthony Cicero with Dayton, Ohio-based CiceroAdams LLC.
     Reached by phone, Cicero said he was not working with Scott Greenwood and would not comment further.
     Greenwood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
     Toledo’s Department of Law Director Adam Loukx said he does not comment on pending litigation and has only taken a cursory look at the complaint.
     The Toledo Police Department’s public information officer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.