Rodney Hargrove, Jr., 20, was killed in a case of mistaken identity just 47 minutes after he was released from prison on bail.
The family of a man who was killed outside a Philadelphia prison just one hour after his release has filed a lawsuit against the city and different corrections officials.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rodney “Rodie” Hargove, age 20, was shot and killed some 47 minutes after being released on bail from the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
Hargrove was, in accordance with Curran-Fromhold policies, let onto the street early in the morning.
While Hargrove exited the facility around 1 o’clock in the morning, he was dead in under an hour; Philadelphia police later arrested and charged a 16-year-old for the murder.
“He didn’t deserve this, not even close,” Hargrove’s father, Rodney Hargrove Sr., told ABC 6.
Hargrove Sr. said that he is still shocked by what happened.
“Disbelief,” he said. “I didn’t know what nothing was. I didn’t understand. They were telling me my baby was gone.”
“I want justice,” Hargrove Sr. added. “I want answers as to how this happened, and I don’t want anybody to go through what me and my family is going through right now, because it should have been and could have been avoided.”
ABC 6 notes that, after being released at 1am, the younger Hargrove was transported across the street to a SEPTA bus stop.
While waiting for the bus to arrive, Hargrove ran back toward the prison with a car in pursuit.
However, there was no guard at the gate, and Hargrove was shot and killed right outside the prison.
“I just want to know why nobody was where they were supposed to be,” the Hargrove family said. “Why wasn’t the guard at the gate? The things that lets the cars drive in and out, because my baby ran back there for help and it was a ghost town. Nobody was there.”
Law enforcement has since opined their belief that Hargrove was mistaken for someone else, and that he was not the intended target of the hit.
“When the shooter was arrested, all press reports indicated this was a case of mistaken identity, this was not a targeting,” said attorney Gregory Spizer of the VSCP Law Firm. “Rodney Hargrove was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and sadly, that is what our case is about.
“He shouldn’t have been at that wrong place.”
The lawsuit, says the Inquirer, was filed late Tuesday by Hargrove’s parents, Rodney and Cindy Hargrove. Their complaint accuses Philadelphia and Curran-Fromhold officials of “Gross negligence, outrageous conduct and reckless misconduct,” as well as indifferent toward his safety, “despite all the known dangers in defendants’ nighttime release policies and lack of proper security.”
Spizer says that prison officials already knew the dangers of late-night releases.
“It is our position, and the facts dictate, that the prison jail community has known for years that late-night releases are problematic, that there have been other reports of deaths and injuries,” he said.
The lawsuit, adds the Inquirer, seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.
While the prison has already changed its policies about late-night releases and guard duties, the complaint asserts that these changes should have already been made.