WASHINGTON (CN) - The police officer who shot an unarmed Maryland man repeatedly in the back in 2013 had no reason to fear for his safety when he pulled the trigger, the man's mother claims in court.
Elijah Glay, 39, of Takoma Park, a Washington D.C. suburb, was running from a police officer in the early morning hours of Oct. 2, 2013, when the officer opened fire and shot him repeatedly in the back, according to a complaint filed by Glay's mother, Beatrice Koon, in Prince George's County Circuit Court.
The officer, Cpl. Tavarras Edwards, had an "exchange" with Glay after he responded to an emergency call at an apartment complex.
But as recounted in the complaint, he never asked Glay why he was on the property or if he had anything to do with the call, before chasing him and opening fire, Koon says.
Glay died before he could be treated at a local hospital.
"In pursuit of Elijah Glay, defendant Corporal Tavarras Edwards neglected to use reasonable force and instead, he used excessive force by firing several shots in the direction of the fleeing Elijah Glay, who was unarmed and who was running away from Corporal Tavarras Edwards and who posed no apparent danger of harm to Corporal Tavarras Edwards," Koon claims in the Sept. 30 complaint.
Prince George's County Police said Edwards, a seven-year veteran at the time of the shooting, arrived at the scene around 2 a.m. after a 911 caller reported hearing a woman screaming "get off me."
The caller also reported hearing the sounds of physical violence, according to a department press release. Officers eventually found a woman the press release describes as the "victim," and then chased Glay as he ran away.
Edwards chased him for a quarter of a mile before Glay approached a fence and ignored Edwards' commands, according to the press release.
"Fearing for his life, the patrol officer discharged his weapon," the police said.
While the accounts of the shooting in the complaint and the police states differ in significant ways, both agree that no weapon was recovered on the scene and that Edwards suffered no injuries.
The officer was placed on administrative leave after the shooting.
Koon and Glay's daughter, co-plaintiff Nosia Glay, seek $20 million for wrongful death and negligence on the part of Edwards and the Prince George's County Police department.
"Our department received a decline to prosecute from the state's attorney's office in early October of 2014," said Officer Tyler Hunter, a spokesperson for Prince George's County Police Department. "Shortly after, the officer was returned to full duty and we can't discuss any pending lawsuit or litigation."
Virginia-based attorney Kamah Gueh-Thoronka, who represents Koon, was not available to comment on the case before publication.