There seems to be a trend in police officers jumping to the wrong conclusion and using their firearms as the first line of defense. But when do the police be held responsible for their actions? Well, a family and some personal injury lawyers in Arkansas believe the time is now.
Keagan Schweikle was a teenage boy who had emotional problems. It all started on October 17th of 2016 when Schweikle was suspended from school after being caught with prescription cough medicine that was not prescribed to him.
After picking him up from school, the mother, Piper Patridge, ran home to grab her purse so she could bring him to the children’s hospital when her son took off into the woods with his mother’s boyfriend’s gun, a .40 caliber pistol. He was heard shouting, “I messed up everything for everybody.” Fraught with panic, the mother called 911 and asked the police to help her seemingly suicidal son. She warned the 911 operator that he might be high on cough syrup and pot.
After Schweikle was located by the local police, he allegedly refused commands to put the gun down and Officer Kyle Ellison shot the teen to death. In the lawsuit being brought upon the City of Benton, Benton Police Department, Chief Kirk Lane and the officers involved in the incident, Schweikle had the gun aimed at his own head. The lawsuit claims that he began to lower the gun from his head and when then subsequently shot twice because the officer believed he was pointing the gun towards him.
When it was time to investigate the case of the death of Schweikle, the Benton police investigated themselves and Ellison was cleared with a local prosecutor and cleared of charges. The family is now suing for a civil rights violation and the lawyers are hoping that someone in the police department should be held responsible for Keagan’s death.
When Ms. Patridge called for assistance with her son, she was hoping the police would help him not hurt him.