MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An attorney for the man killed by Southaven Police officers last year says the family will pursue a civil lawsuit in federal court, a day after it was announced that the officer involved was not indicted on criminal charges.
Attorney Murray Wells says attorneys haven't settled on a dollar amount, but said it will be in the millions — "enough to sting," he said.
"I think a lawsuit will come sooner rather than later," Wells said.
He compared the Southaven, Mississippi case to other recent police shooting cases in Ferguson, Missouri and Memphis in which white officers were not indicted after shooting black or Hispanic people.
"This follows sort of a trail of indictments by prosecutors for white officers shooting people of color, and then presenting that to a grand jury and getting no indictment," Wells said. "It raises questions in our mind as to whether these are real presentations to grand juries."
He said attorneys can now can get evidence from Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement. So far, DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion has not handed over Lopez's autopsy report, he said.
Lopez was killed July 23, 2017, when officers, who had a warrant for a house across the street, went to the wrong house. Lopez was not wanted by police.
Lopez was shot in the back of the head by police. They say he opened his door and refused to drop a rifle.
Lopez's wife, Wells said, disputes that officers ever told Lopez to drop a weapon. There was a rifle in the living room, Wells said, but he said it had not been pointed it at police.