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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Man Says Shooting|by Cops Was Excessive

(CN) - An Alabama man claims in court that he was "critically, severely and brutally wounded" after being shot 12 times by police officers in what he calls an egregious display of excessive force.

In a complaint filed in the Birmingham Federal Court, Ronald Hunter Jr. says he was visiting his daughter's apartment on Dec. 16, 2013, when her husband pulled a gun and began firing it at him.

Earlier in the day, Hunter says, he had "had words" with his son-in-law, but the attack was entirely unexpected.

According to the complaint, Hunter was well-known to carry a gun himself, "as he often carries large sums of money to deposit in the bank for his church," but as the incident unfolded, he neither pointed the weapon at anyone nor did he fire it."

However, when the police arrived on the scene in response to a number of emergency phone calls placed by frightened witnesses, the officers immediately began to pursue Hunter, who had gotten into his vehicle and was trying to drive away.

According to the complaint, the officers failed to take "an assessment of the scene to determine exactly what happened or assess who was actually the shooter."

On arriving at Hunter's home, the officers exited their vehicles with guns drawn, as Hunter "casually" parked his car in the carport, the complaint says.

"Without any provocation from Hunter the officers fired countless shots at Hunter, hitting him twelve times and critically wounding him," the lawsuit continues. "Ballistics results have proven that Hunter's gun was never fired."

Hunter was eventually arrested, approximately a month after the incident, but "only days after Hunter's family, through their lawyer, demanded his bullet riddled vehicle."

The suit claims the City of Leeds, Ala., which employed the officers, "tolerated and institutionalized" a culture of excessive force by failing to investigate civilian complaints.

"Defendant City of Leeds, Defendant Jackson and others have created an atmosphere of tolerance regarding willful, wanton, and improper behavior of officers," Hunter says.

The complaint also accuses defendants of tampering with evidence and conspiring to cover up any violations of plaintiff's civil rights.

"Defendants proffered edited and altered evidence regarding the incidents involving the Plaintiff and further concealed evidence, video and audio recordings of the incident for more than two years," the complaint states.

Hunter seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages on claims of

excessive force, assault and battery, failure to intervene, negligent supervision, inadequate training, denial of due process, civil conspiracy, deliberate indifference and outrage.

He is represented by Valerie Hicks Powe of Birmingham attorney.

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