Mom Says Cop Shot Her Son Without Cause

     (CN) – An off-duty Palm Beach County police officer shot a man schizophrenia without provocation and then lied to cover his actions, the man’s mother claims in court.
     In a lawsuit filed in the Palm Beach Federal Court, Alva Alvarez claims her son was having a friendly conversation with Joshua McGehee, an officer with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department, when the encounter suddenly “escalated.”
     She says McGehee identified himself as an officer, drew his firearm and began shouting verbal commands.
     Then, Alvarez says, McGehee opened fire, with six of the 10 bullets he fired striking her son.
     The entire encounter took place at the end of McGehee’s driveway, across the street from where Alvarez lives. Alvarez’s mother rushed out of her house to find her son lying in a pool of blood, the complaint says.
     Alvarez says McGehee did not seek medical assistance for her son immediately, but instead he placed a phone call to his mother, who is executive assistant to Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. He notified her of the shooting and sought advice on what to do next.
     The complaint alleges that McGehee and potentially other deputies, fabricated a story about how Alvarez provoked the incident- “refusing to get off McGehee’s property, making a fist, chasing after McGehee, cornering McGehee in his garage, and McGehee fearing for his life and having no place to retreat to.”
     Alvarez was later charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and battery on a police officer, although he is incompetent to stand trial.
     Joshua McGehee was cleared of all charges.
     The suit claims that the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office covered up the findings in the investigation into the shooting.
     Alvarez seeks compensatory and punitive damages on claims of excessive use of force, deliberate indifference, and negligent hiring.
     Ana and Aldo Alvarez are represented by Stuart Kaplan of Kaplan, Sconzo and Parker of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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