Judge Says Kansas City Police Shooting Of Unarmed Ryan Stokes Was ‘Justified’
A Kansas City family is reeling after a judge ruled that a police officer was justified in the unarmed shooting of their family member. Ryan Stokes was fatally shot twice in the back on July 28, 2013 and his family sued the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners in federal court with a wrongful death lawsuit.
KSHB reports that the family’s lawsuit centered around Officer William Thompson who killed Stokes and who they believe used “excessive and deadly force.”
The lawsuit also alleges the police board, its individual members and two current or former KCPD Chiefs of Police, Daryl Forte and Rick Smith, failed “to train and/or supervise” Thompson properly before the deadly encounter.
Unfortunately, a judge recently gave the officer immunity and removed him from the lawsuit ruling that he used “reasonable” force when he shot and killed Stokes.
“Officer Thompson believed Stokes was armed and turned to ambush the pursuing officers, and Officer Thompson discharged his weapon to protect the approaching officers,” U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes wrote in an order this week.
“The fact that Stokes was not, in reality, holding a gun when Officer Thompson shot him is not relevant.” Wimes wrote in a 15-page order.
Officer Thompson said he thought he saw a gun in Stokes’ hand and shot him while he approached officers after a foot chase. Several officers said they believed Stokes was actually surrendering.
The lawsuit can move forward in federal court but without Officer Thompson who faced no criminal charges after a jury declined to indict him. The Stokes family is also planning to appeal the decision.
So sad yet unsurprising.