The sister of a mentally disturbed man shot dead by a Philadelphia police
officer has filed a wrongful death claim against the city and the cop who gunned down her late brother.
Geraldine Johnson, administratrix of the estate of Kenyado D. Newsuan, is suing the City of Philadelphia and police officer Graham, no first name given, over the April 22, 2012, death of 31-year-old Newsuan.
The complaint says that the officer encountered Newsuan as the decedent was in the midst of having a bad reaction to some drugs he had ingested.
Newsuan stripped naked and went outside of his house, although he wasn’t acting in an aggressive manner or threatening anyone, the lawsuit states.
When Graham came upon the scene, he was told by the man’s girlfriend that he should call for backup and not deal with Newsuan alone.
The officer, who said he “had it under control,” ended up firing his Taser gun at Newsuan, although the shock apparently had no effect, the lawsuit states.
“Mr. Newsuan was just standing there naked, with a dazed look on his face, when Officer Graham again called to the decedent to come to him,” the complaint reads. “As Mr. Newsuan started walking toward Officer Graham, the Defendant pulled out his gun and shot him multiple times, killing him.”
At the time Newsuan was fatally shot, he was “naked, unarmed, and he did not pose a threat to the Defendant, or anyone else, and instead was in need of medical help and attention,” the suit states.
Graham’s use of deadly force was excessive and unreasonable under the circumstances and in violation of Newsuan’s Fourth Amendment rights, the complaint says.
The city is accused of failing to adequately discipline, train and supervise police officers in the use of deadly force, especially in cases where individuals are in need of medical attention for mental or emotional issues.
The suit contains counts of excessive and deadly force, assault and battery and wrongful death.
There is also a Monell claim against the city.
The plaintiff seeks damages relating to Newsuan’s funeral, burial and estate administration expenses.
She also seeks compensatory damages in excess of $175,000, plus interest, costs, legal fees and punitive damages.
The suit was filed on April 22 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Philadelphia attorney Alan E. Denenberg of the firm Abramson & Denenberg P.C.
The federal case number is 2:14-cv-02331-WY.