The federal lawsuit claims that Arlington police shot a suicidal teenager in the back.
A federal lawsuit is contesting statements made by Arlington police after the shooting of a suicidal 17-year old.
According to HeraldNet.com, all five of the bullets which struck Nina Semone Robinson hit her in the back and buttocks.
The account described in the complaint is markedly different from law enforcement narratives of the February 14, 2017 encounter.
Responding officers, writes the Herald, claim the girl was threatening to kill herself with a pocket knife. While trying to talk her down, Arlington police say she charged them with a three-inch blade.
Representatives for the Texas department have said there’s a plausible explanation as to why Robinson was shot in the back. Arlington Police Chief Jonathon Ventura says there were multiple officers on the scene—one, standing off to the side and at an angle, opened fire when he saw the girl running toward a sergeant.
Both officers opened fire, critically injuring the teen.
The civil complaint, reports the Herald, acknowledges that she was wielding a knife and, at one point, holding it to her own throat. But its recounting of events diverges from that of the officers, claiming that Robinson was unarmed when she was shot.
Attorneys for the teenager say she was sitting inside her car when a police sergeant broke the window with his baton. Purportedly pulling her out by her hair, the sergeant allowed her to walk a short distance while trying to shock her with a malfunctioning stun gun.
The lawsuit claims that the officers “radically escalated the severity” of the situation and lacked proper crisis management training.
An inter-agency investigation cleared both officers involved in the shooting of any wrongdoing. Local prosecutors declined to press charges.
“At the time of the shooting, the involved officers were trained in crisis management techniques to the standard required by state law,” the Arlington Police Department said in a statement last week. “The independent investigation showed that the officers repeatedly attempted to deescalate the situation, including the deployment of a Taser to prevent injury to the plaintiff, the officers, and bystanders. The plaintiff pled guilty to two counts of Assault on a Police Officer in connection with the case, admitting she attempted to assault the officers to force a ‘suicide by cop’ scenario.”
The Herald notes that Robinson, in fact, pled guilty to fourth-degree assault and unlawful display of a weapon. Both offenses are misdemeanors.
Robinson had no criminal record prior to the encounter.
Police and eyewitness accounts say that Robinson was roaming residential streets, ‘wailing’ and ‘very emotionally upset’ following an incident with her boyfriend the night before.
After officers arrived, Robinson locked herself in a car and threatened to cut her own throat.
Once she was out of the car, the complaint indicates she abandoned the knife and was walking away from the officers.
“At the moment Defendants Olson and Barret deployed deadly force, Plaintiff Robinson was unarmed and posed no immediate threat to either officer and no reasonable officer under the circumstances would have perceived her as such,” claims the lawsuit, adding that the knife was found more than 40 feet away from where she’d been shot.