Parents of Shot Teen Decry Police Cover-Up

     MARSHALL, Texas (CN) – Texas police officers conspired to cover up the wrongful shooting of a mentally ill teenager, his parents claim in federal court.
     Randy and Karen Cole say that their son Ryan survived the shooting but had to be resuscitated after going into cardiac arrest.
     Garland police had allegedly gone to the Cole home hours before the shooting on Oct. 24, 2010, because they received a report of a disturbance.
     The Coles say their 17-year-old son took several medications at the time for severe obsessive compulsive disorder.
     “On occasion, Ryan would act out in a negative way within the home and around his family,” the complaint states.
     After the police arrived, the family allegedly decided Ryan could spend the night somewhere else. He chose to leave home that evening and was supposed to stay in a tree house, according to the complaint
     While the family slept, however, Ryan allegedly sneaked back into the house and used their confidential code to break into their gun safe.
     “Apparently in an effort to protect himself from some perceived threat from wild animals in the woods, Ryan armed himself with one or more weapons which remained in his possession until the following morning,” the complaint states.
     Ryan then stopped by the home of his friend, Eric Reed Jr., and left a gun there, the Coles claim.
     Either Reed or Reed’s father, himself a retired Sachse officer, called the police, according to the complaint.
     “Although Ryan had never acted aggressively or violently toward anyone, upon information and belief, one or both of the Reeds exaggerated their reports of their interaction with Ryan Cole to imply or state that he was in some way aggressive or violent,” the complaint states.
     When officers from both the Sachse and the Garland police departments showed up to confront Ryan, the teenager allegedly held the pistol to his head and kept walking.
     His parents say Ryan ignored orders from the officers to stop, and that Officer Michael Hunter then shot Ryan from behind, hitting his back and upper arm.
     Ryan had kept the pistol to his own head when Hunter struck him, and the Coles say he “involuntarily grasped or clutched his fingers resulting in the involuntary discharge of one round from that weapon into Ryan Cole’s skull and brain,” according to the complaint.
     Officer Martin Cassidy then fired at Ryan as he collapsed to the ground, the parents say. Officer Carl Carson allegedly watched the scene unfold.
     The Coles say none of the three Sachse officers moved to help Ryan as he lay on the ground unconscious and bleeding.
     “Instead, after the shooting, defendants Hunter, Cassidy and Carson formed and carried out an agreement and a combination commonly referred to in the law as a ‘conspiracy’ to hide and cover up their respective wrongful conduct and their actual involvement in this incident by falsely claiming that Ryan Cole was actually facing defendant Hunter when Ryan Cole was shot and, further, by falsely claiming that Ryan Cole had lowered and directly pointed his weapon at defendant Hunter, thereby justifying defendant Hunter’s and also defendant Cassidy’s use of deadly force against Ryan Cole,” the complaint states. “The fabrication of this ‘evidence’ was intended by the individual defendants to support a claim that defendant Hunter had justifiably fired only in self defense and that defendant Cassidy had justifiably fired in defense of Hunter or himself, when in fact all such claims were factually false. At that time, each of the individual defendants believed that in all probability Ryan Cole was already dead or would shortly die and that if each of them told the same false story, they would be relieved of any criminal or civil responsibility for the unlawful shooting and death of Ryan Cole.”
     Later the officers testified falsely that Hunter had verbally warned Ryan before shooting at him, the family claims.
     Bullet trajectory indicates that Ryan was turned away from Hunter, and the damage to Ryan’s skin around the head wound proves that the teen was holding the gun to his own head, according to the complaint.
     Ryan was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant, but his parents say the Dallas County District Attorney’s office dismissed the charges.
     The shooting left Ryan with brain damage, partial paralysis and a seizure disorder.
     Ryan’s parents seek damages for violations of the Fourth and 14th Amendments. They are represented by Jack Ayres in Addison, Texas.

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