PHILADELPHIA (CN) – The mother of a 26-year-old man shot during a traffic stop in 2014 sued Philadelphia in Federal Court on Wednesday, months after the district attorney said he would not bring charges against the officers involved.
Brandon Tate-Brown was shot by police officers after being pulled over for not having his headlights on, officers Nicholas Carrelli and Heng Dang claim. Both are named as defendants in the suit.
But at least one witness present said the officers pulled Tate-Brown over because his vehicle matched the description of a car involved in a robbery.
The officers say they shot Tate-Brown after he reached for a gun. But Tanya Brown-Dickerson, the man’s mother, says in her complaint that “instead of just checking on the safety of a motorist driving without full headlights (their stated reason for pulling him over) the police officers began an aggressive interaction with Brandon with the intent of harassing Brandon Tate-Brown, instigating a struggle, assaulting him, arresting him, and charging him with a crime.”
“When Brandon Tate-Brown resisted, and tried to run from the aggressive and assaultive officers, Carrelli shot Brandon Tate-Brown once in the back of the head from close range,” Brown-Dickerson says in her complaint.
Tate-Brown told the officers that the rental car he was driving belonged to his employer, Dollar Rental Car – a subsidiary of Hertz – and supplied the officers with the car’s registration and his manager’s contact information.
The officers did not understand that Dollar is a Hertz subsidiary and that the rental car would be registered in a name other than Tate-Brown’s – and they should have, the complaint says.
“Police reports state that it is due to this alleged ‘inconsistency’ that the decision was made to ask Brandon Tate-Brown to leave the vehicle and to place him under arrest,” Brown-Dickerson says in the complaint.
Tate-Brown’s mother also says that no gun was ever recovered from her son’s car, despite Carrelli’s claim of seeing one during the incident.
“Additional lies told by the police immediately after the shooting included telling the first EMT on the scene that Brandon was shot because he was shooting his gun at police and telling persons on the scene that Brandon was shot because he was reaching into his vehicle for a gun,” the complaint says.
Tate-Brown’s death occurred during a particularly fractious period in U.S. policing, a few months after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and before Freddie Gray in Baltimore. As in those cities, protests followed the no-charges announcement by the Philadelphia DA.
Brown-Dickerson is suing for wrongful death, false arrest, assault and battery, and state and federal civil rights violations as the administrator of her son’s estate. She seeks compensatory, special and punitive damages.
She is represented by Brian Mildenberg of Philadelphia. Mildenberg filed a similar lawsuit for Brown-Dickerson in state court back in April.
- Machinima Settles FTC Case Over XBox Pitches
- 2nd Cir. Hesitant to Close NSA’s Spying Window