The parents of 17-year-old Jonathan Fontanez are suing the Broward Sheriff's Office and three deputies for his Florida wrongful death. Fontanez died after a deputy shot him in the heart. The fatal shooting took place at the Fontanez family’s West park residence.
According to Fontanez’s mother Evelyn Fontanez, the deputies never identified themselves when they arrived at the residence at around 1am on Aug. 11, 2008, and her son thought that they were home invaders. The deputies were there to arrest Fontanez on armed robbery and assault charges.
Fontanez swung a baseball bat at them and it was after this that the deputies beat, Tasered, and shot him. Although Fontanez was shot while trying to reach for Deputy Michael Francis’s gun, the plaintiffs' lawyer is arguing that the weapon was in a special holster and it would have been hard for anyone to grab it. Therefore, it was not reasonable to think that the teen would have been able to retrieve the weapon.
In addition to the BSO, the other defendants in the Broward County, Florida wrongful death case are Francis, Sgt. Santiago Vazquez, and Deputy Samuel Wagers. Fontanez’s family is seeking unspecified damages.
Excessive Use of Police Force
Law enforcement officers must abide by strict guidelines when using force of any kind and excessive use of force is not allowed. Unfortunately, every year suspects, defendants, persons convicted of crimes, and innocent bystanders are injured or killed because they were subject to police brutality. The unnecessary use of force has been known to include the use of chemical sprays, fists, batons, electro-shock weapons, dogs, batons, and guns. All of these, especially when used with excessive force, can cause Miami personal injury or wrongful death.
West Park family sues BSO and 3 deputies in teen's shooting death, Sun-Sentinel, August 23, 2010
17-Year-Old Killed In Deputy-Involved Shooting, WPLG Miami, August 12, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Broward Sheriff's Office
Police Brutality: The Use of Excessive Force, Drury.Edu