Last August, a Greensboro, North Carolina police officer fatally shot a 17-year-old boy during a traffic stop. The boy, Nasanto Antonio Crenshaw, was in a stolen vehicle and was apparently trying to flee when he was killed. Yesterday the boy’s mother filed a civil rights lawsuit trial against the police officer who shot his son, arguing that the officer’s use of force was so egregious that it violated his son’s Fourth Amendment rights.
“I hurt every day”, Wakita Doriety, Crenshaw’s mother, said WRAL, a local news station, last year. “I cry all day, every day… It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”
According to trial, the incident occurred last August, when Crenshaw was arrested by local police on suspicion of driving a vehicle that had recently been reported stolen. After being arrested, the accused – a police officer identified only as ‘John Doe’ – got out of his patrol vehicle and Crenshaw began to drive away at a “speed of three to five miles per hour”, according to the lawsuit. .
After fleeing, the lawsuit reports that Crenshaw pulled the vehicle into a parking lot, where the accused followed. The parking lot was a dead end, and the complaint states that Crenshaw had begun attempting a three-point turn, causing the “driver’s side of his vehicle to sweep across the front of the defendant Doe’s patrol vehicle”. At this point, Crenshaw’s vehicle stopped and the accused got out of his patrol car, ordering Crenshaw to “get down, get down, do it now”.
However, the complaint states that Crenshaw began to turn the vehicle, facing the accused and his patrol car. At this point, several passengers, also teenagers, jumped out of the vehicle and fled. Shortly after, as Crenshaw attempted to drive away at “slow speed”, the accused fired three shots at Crenshaw, killing him.
According to the trial, the accused had no reason to believe that Crenshaw was going to try to penetrate him. As the complaint states, “The trajectory of the bullets entering Nasanto’s body is consistent with Defendant Doe standing to the side of Nasanto’s moving vehicle and not in the trajectory of Nasanto’s moving vehicle and not in the trajectory of Nasanto’s moving vehicle.”
“The force used by Defendant Doe shocks the conscience and violated Nasanto’s Fourth Amendment rights,” reads the statement. complaint. “Defendant Doe engaged in the conduct described in this complaint in a willful, malicious manner, in bad faith, and in reckless disregard of Nasanto’s protected constitutional rights.” The complaint seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
“As is standard protocol, the officer involved has been on administrative duty since the day of the incident,” said Josie Cambareri, spokeswoman for the Greensboro Police Department (GPD). said The daily beast. “In addition to the criminal investigation of the [State Bureau of Investigation]DIM is conducting an internal investigation to determine whether or not the policies were followed.”
Despite the officer’s disturbing conduct, it is unclear whether the trial will be successful. Qualified immune protections succeeded in protect civil rights lawsuits, even in cases where their behavior explicitly violated a complainant’s rights.
However, the complaint argues that the defendant is not eligible for qualified immunity, noting that another trial in the same circuit established that the officers who “violated the Fourth Amendment to the extent that they began to use deadly force , or continued to use deadly force…once it was no longer reasonable for them to believe the car was about to run them over (or run over their fellow officers)” were not entitled to Qualified Immunity While this past precedent raises hopes that Doriety will prevail in her case against the officer who killed her son, winning the case is still likely to be an uphill battle.