Bruce Vielmetti reports Family of Milwaukee man killed by Walworth deputy in botched drug sting files federal lawsuit:
The family of a 21-year-old Milwaukee man killed by a Walworth County sheriff’s deputy during a botched drug sting has sued the county, two municipal governments and several officers, who the family suspects destroyed dashcam video of the incident.
Christopher Davis was a passenger in his Pontiac Bonneville parked outside a Town of East Troy restaurant on Feb. 24, 2016, when the driver tried to take off when he saw marked police cars arriving.
Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Ortiz, who was assisting East Troy police in the case, fired at the car, killing Davis. Ortiz said he feared for his life because the car was heading toward him and was later ruled to have been justified in using deadly force.
The suit also charges several of the officers with failure to intervene and pull the plug on what they all knew was an inadequate plan for the drug arrest.
“When investigators searched for the video, they discovered that the dashcam video memory cards were removed, purportedly to download video footage for state investigators with the Department of Criminal Investigations,” the suit states.
No dashcam video was recovered, and the lawsuit states it is believed that some of the officers involved purposefully removed the cards from their vehicles and destroyed the evidence.
The suit cites nine causes of action, including wrongful death claims, and seeks unspecified damages. Davis’ estate is represented by Nathaniel Cade.
Lawsuits are often lengthy and outcomes uncertain; the complaint was filed on 11.25.18 as 2:18-cv-01846-JPS (pdf) with an accompanying exhibit of use-of-force procedures Walworth County is alleged to have violated (pdf).
Less than two years ago, Walworth County had to settle a fatal shooting in a federal case for $1.1 million.
The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department – in a relatively small rural county – has been involved in eight fatal shootings over roughly the last eight years.