LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CN) – The mother of a Kentucky homeless man squatting in an abandoned house on a winter night claims he was shot over a dozen times and killed by police officers who then lied about the circumstances of the shooting.
William Young Jr., a 31-year-old, mentally ill homeless man, was shot and killed Feb. 11 by three Louisville Metro Police officers, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Louisville federal court by Young’s mother, Reinella Kirilova.
Kirilova claims officers responded to a burglary call at an abandoned house near the Churchill Downs horse racing track, but discovered there was no crime in progress and that Young was squatting in the home.
According to the complaint, the officers “were familiar with [Young] as a homeless person, who was frequently found in abandoned homes in the area and was once again squatting in an abandoned upstairs room.”
“The [police officers], at least two of whom were wearing body video cameras, charged up the steps and in a matter of less than a second or two after spotting William Young Jr., who was likely sleeping at the time … began shooting him without any provocation or justification,” the lawsuit states.
Young’s mother says he did not die immediately after being shot as many as a dozen times, but was promptly handcuffed by the officers, only to die a few minutes later.
Kirilova claims Officers Russell Braun, Randall Richardson, and Paige Young tried to cover up their actions by lying about the circumstances of the shooting, including falsely stating that Young “was armed with a gun, a machete, and that their actions were in response to a burglary report.”
She seeks $18 million in punitive damages for claims of wrongful death, civil rights violations and negligence.
The Louisville Jefferson County Metro Government is listed as a defendant alongside the three Louisville Metro Police officers.
Young’s estate is represented by Ned Pillersdorf of Pillersdorf, DeRossett and Lane in Prestonsburg, Ky.
A spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department said it does not comment on pending litigation.