Scott, a West Point grad and Duke graduate student, was shot and killed outside of a Las Vegas Costco after he got into an argument with a Costco employee. The employee apparently saw that Scott was (legally) carrying a weapon, panicked, and called the police. In their testimony at the coroner’s inquest, police said that as Scott was leaving the Costco, they simultaneously told him to drop his weapon and put his hands in the air. When he didn’t comply with both, which of course was impossible, they killed him.
The coroner nonetheless found the shooting justified. Which shouldn’t be surprising. Las Vegas hasn’t fired a police officer for shooting someone in any of the 378 times it’s happened over the last 20 years. (Although one of the cops involved in the Scott shooting was later fired and criminally charged in a separate case for providing a gun to a felon.)
Scott had no prior criminal record. His family had been pursuing a lawsuit. But they’ve now given up, apparently out of frustration. Here’s the press release, in full:
Scott Family Announces Erik B. Scott Lawsuit to be Dismissed
Las Vegas, NV (March 13, 2012) – Upon advice of legal counsel, the family of Erik B. Scott has dismissed its lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Sheriff Doug Gillespie and the three officers who shot and killed Erik on July 10, 2010.
“We are extremely disappointed, and this action is being taken with great reluctance,” said William B. Scott, Erik’s father. “We thank our attorney, Ross Goodman, and his team for their outstanding efforts on Erik’s and our behalf. It’s time to move on with our lives.”
“We feel Erik was wrongfully killed, through an incredibly tragic mistake,” he added. “Officer William Mosher claimed he tapped Erik on the shoulder, and Mosher confirmed, at the coroner’s inquest hearing, that Erik responded by stating that he had a concealed firearm. Erik was trying to comply with the officer’s conflicting commands, when Mosher fired two shots. The commands and those first shots occurred within two seconds. Mosher’s first round hit Erik in the heart, killing him instantly. The second round went through Erik’s right thigh. Officers Mendiola and Stark then fired another five rounds into Erik’s back, after my son was on the ground and dying.”
Despite multiple witnesses confirming Erik was complying with Officer Mosher’s commands, recent Ninth Circuit Court opinions finding “qualified immunity” for police officers, even after agreeing excessive force had been used, makes it difficult to proceed with this lawsuit.
“While we believe the Costco surveillance-video data — which captured the shooting — provides irrefutable evidence that Erik was wrongfully killed, the ‘missing’ segment of that video makes it difficult to overcome those qualified-immunity legal issues,” Scott said.
Odd how critical portions of surveillance video often turn up missing, isn’t it?