The lawsuit alleges that police employed unreasonable force to prevent 34-year-old Ali Osman from throwing rocks at law enforcement vehicles.
The family of an Arizona man who was shot and killed after throwing rocks at police patrol vehicles has filed an $85 million claim against the city.
According to NBC News, the family of Ali Osman is seeking damages from the City of Phoenix, the Phoenix Police Department and its chief, Michael Sullivan, and two of the individual officers involved in the shooting.
NBC News notes that the Osman family has yet to file an actual lawsuit against the city.
However, they have filed a notice of claim—the precursor to a lawsuit, typically required whenever presumptive plaintiffs wish to pursue legal action against a government entity.
“The Claimants seek an award of damages reasonably calculated to compensate for the injuries they suffered in connection with the wrongful death of Ali Osman on September 24, 2022,” the notice of claim states.
Osman, aged 34 at the time of his death, died in the hospital after being shot by two Phoenix police officers.
While the department said that Osman was throwing rocks at police vehicles, attorneys for the family say that the 34-year-old Somali national was murdered.
“This is not just homicide. This was murder,” attorney Quacy Smith said in a press conference. “He should be in jail, not in a graveyard.”
Police officials say that officers encountered Osman after they had completed an unrelated call in a nearby neighborhood.
While driving past North 19th Avenue in Phoenix, the officers reportedly saw “a man throwing rocks at their vehicles.”
“Both units involved stopped further down the street and spoke with each other about what occurred,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Brian Bower said in an October 7th video statement.
According to Bower, the units requested assistance from a law enforcement helicopter and from an officer with “less lethal munitions.”
When the vehicles returned to the intersection, Osman continued throwing stones at them, prompting a confrontation.
Body camera footage from the responding officers shows law enforcement ordering Osman to “drop it.”
However, when Osman raised another rock, officers opened fire.
Bower seemingly defended the officers’ decision to employ lethal force by observing that the rocks had damaged both patrol vehicles and hit one first responder in the shin.
The Osman family’s notice of claim states that the 34-year-old was “neither a threat of death nor of great bodily harm to the officers,” and was not otherwise “engaging in conduct that justified the extent of force used by the officers.”
Osman’s family said that he had previously dealt with unspecified “mental health challenges.”