On April 29, lawyers presented closing arguments to a jury in a Tulare County courtroom following nearly a month of testimony in a wrongful death case filed against the City of Porterville, California.
According to The Fresno Bee, a regional news source, 26-year-old Vincent Steen was killed by three law enforcement officials from the Porterville Police Department on January 10, 2010. The plaintiffs – Steen's mother, Cathy Connor, and brother, Randy Steen – allege that the victim was shot in front of them and bled to death in Connor's home. They claim that Steen was unarmed when the incident occurred, and are seeking damages for his wrongful death and for the negligent infliction of emotional distress.
While the attorney representing the city has said that Steen ignored numerous commands from the officers and appeared to pose an immediate threat to their safety, the family's lawyer, Roger Dreyer, alleges that the law enforcement officials acted violently toward the victim, who he referred to as a "frightened man," while attempting to arrest him.
"When unreasonable force is being used, the person being arrested can lawfully use reasonable force to protect himself," said Dreyer.
The source states that the incident started when police stopped Steen at around 7 p.m. while he was riding his bicycle because they thought he appeared suspicious. The victim fled from the officers after they used a Taser to try to subdue him, running to his mother's home three blocks away.
If one of your family members has died as a result of negligent behavior and you live in Missouri, consider finding a personal injury lawyer who will work hard on your behalf. These experienced and locally based professionals can assess your claim, try your case in court and help you recover damages you may be entitled to.