Mother of man shot dead by Philly cop files wrongful death claim against city, officer

By Jon Campisi | Jul 11, 2013

The estate of a man shot and killed by a Philadelphia police officer has filed a federal civil

The estate of a man shot and killed by a Philadelphia police officer has filed a federal civil

rights complaint against the law enforcement agent, contending the defendant’s actions constituted violations of the deceased man’s constitutional rights.

Philadelphia resident Alfreda Carr, administer of the estate of her late son, Efrem Carr, is suing officer Thomas D’Alesio and the City of Philadelphia over the Aug. 23, 2012 death of Efrem Carr, who was killed by police gunfire after the late Carr was stopped by D’Alesio while driving in the area of 65th Street and Girard Avenue in West Philadelphia.

The complaint says that D’Alesio effected a traffic stop on that day for an unspecified motor vehicle violation, after which Carr was told to exit the vehicle and undergo a frisk of his body.

Carr soon returned to his vehicle, at which time D’Alesio reached into the car as it began to move, causing the officer to pull his service pistol and shoot and kill Efrem Carr.

Carr’s mother claims her son was unarmed and not attacking the officer at the time D’Alesio fired the fatal gunshot into Carr’s chest.

“Officer D’Alesio’s actions constitute a substantive due process violation, excessive use of force and false arrest in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit reads. “Plaintiff’s injuries and death are the result of the officer’s direct violation of plaintiff’s constitutional rights.”

The complaint contains a Monell Claim against the City of Philadelphia that alleges that D’Alesio’s treatment of Efrem Carr was without provocation and unreasonable, and was a direct result of a police department custom, policy and practice.

“As the direct and proximate result of the PPD’s custom, practice and policy and the aforesaid unlawful and malicious physical abuse of Efrem Carr by officer D’Alesio, committed under color of state law under authority as a PPD police officer, Efrem Carr sustained grievous bodily harm and was deprived of his right to be secure in his person against unreasonable seizure of his person and the use of excessive force …,” the complaint reads.

Efrem Carr ended up dying as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest, which caused the deceased man “great pain, anguish, fear and consternation,” the suit states.

D’Alesio is accused of applying “fatal excessive force” against Efrem Carr despite the fact that the man had not been resisting and never made any threatening gestures toward police.

“Efrem Carr cooperated with Defendant, posed no threat to either the Defendant or any other individuals present, and Defendant had no probable cause to arrest Plaintiff based on Plaintiff’s actions,” the complaint states.

The federal civil action also contains a state law claim of wrongful death against the defendants.

Efrem Carr is survived by both his mother and father, Alfreda Carr and Ronnie Lee.

“Plaintiff claims on behalf of Decedent’s survivors all damages recoverable under the Wrongful Death Act, including but not limited to the pecuniary value of support, services, society and comfort that decedent would have provided to them had he lived, as well as for reimbursement of medical expense, funeral expenses and other expenses incurred in connection with his death,” the lawsuit states.

Carr’s estate seeks more than $150,000 in damages, in addition to costs, interest, delay damages and legal fees.

The complaint was filed on July 9 at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Newtown, Pa. attorneys Christopher J. Culleton and Joseph P. Guzzardo, of the firm Swartz Culleton PC.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-03968-LFR. 

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