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Husband's shooting death prompts wrongful death suit

A woman whose husband was shot in an altercation with police officers is seeking financial compensation in connection with the Illinois incident. The woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the officer who shot her husband and the department itself, according to news reports. The 51-year-old victim was reportedly shot in early January 2013, as officers responded to a complaint from a neighbor.

Authorities say that the officer responded to only the latest in a series of ongoing disputes between the victim's family and their neighbors. In this case, a nearby resident called because a flammable liquid seemed to have been poured down a chimney. When the officer arrived, the victim pointed his shotgun at him. After ordering the man to drop the weapon, the officer shot the victim, who then fled. He was found dead behind his home shortly after the encounter.

The man's wife claims that the officer did not identify himself as he walked toward the victim. In fact, she said that the deputy never indicated that he was a law enforcement officer. Further, the deputy is under fire for allegedly making the invalid assumption that the victim had violated a law. Law enforcement officials in the area say that they are saddened by the incident, but they are standing behind the actions of the deputy.

Police officers do not have the right to simply shoot citizens whenever they want. Rules and standards govern their conduct. Even if this deputy is not facing criminal charges for his misconduct, he could be held accountable in a civil court, where the burden of proof is significantly lower. The victim's wife deserves to be compensated for her pain and suffering, emotional distress and other related claims. Consulting a qualified Illinois attorney may benefit such victims, who may be seeking financial compensation for overdue medical bills, funeral costs and other civil expenses.

Source: The Saint Louis Post Dispatch, "Widow sues Madison County deputy sheriff who shot her husband" Paul Hampel, Jan. 17, 2014

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