Family of 17-year-old shot dead by police files lawsuit against officers

The family of 17-year-old Darrell Jones, who was shot and killed by police in Northampton, Massachusetts, in August 2016, is suing three officers, claiming that they were doing nothing wrong when they stopped him in his car. Authorities found a loaded handgun on Jones as well as more than $2,500 in cash, a ring, and two iPhones. Investigators later discovered that Jones had been bought the phones just three days before his death. The three officers involved in the shooting and the city of Northampton, where the incident occurred, are facing civil charges in the case.

The two-week jury trial of the Jones family started yesterday. The lead prosecutor at the case is arguing that Jones was armed with a gun that he was plotting to use against law enforcement officers. “There is a possibility he planned to kill any officer who engaged him,” Assistant District Attorney Clare Capel told jurors in her opening statement. “Darrell Jones was determined and quick in his actions,” Capel said. “No one can debate that he wasn’t armed.”

Anthony DePietro, the Jones family attorney, disputed those claims, however, and described the case as being about wrongful death and civil rights violations. DePietro described Jones as being a “young man full of hope and dreams.” DePietro also noted that several of the officers involved in the shooting have been cleared of any wrongdoing. “They’re saying he was armed. So what?” DePietro said, according to WBZ. “So people can kill as they please and the police do nothing about it.” DePietro also noted that police were the ones who told Jones he could not retrieve a cellphone that he had lost while under police surveillance. DePietro told jurors that they would hear from former police officer Sgt. Nicholas Gadd and Officer Paul Arevalo, the supervisors who led the investigation into the shooting.

The case comes amidst a growing national debate about police shooting young black men in general, particularly those with guns. Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., an unarmed black man who was shot in July 2016, has also sparked similar outrage after a video surfaced of officers with guns drawn directing him away from the edge of the Harvard campus. Authorities have claimed that Chamberlain was dangerous and illegally parked on the Harvard campus before he was shot by officer Michael Harrison in the back of the head. Despite the controversy, Harrison is not facing criminal charges in Chamberlain’s death.

Read the full story at WBZ.

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