Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Huntsville Police
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WZDX) - A Madison County woman is suing the City of Huntsville, the police chief and five police officers in the death of her 17-year-old son.
Nancy Smith says her son died after police used excessive force during an undercover drug bust. Smith's lawsuit states the excessive force happened at her Madison County home on June 13th last year.
She claims officers sent-in an undercover teenager to sell drugs to her 17-year-old son and officers were hiding nearby to make any arrests. Smith claims after he allegedly purchased the drugs, one of the officers threw him to the ground, handcuffed him and pepper sprayed him.
She then claims he began choking uncontrollably while an officer shoved a knee into his back. Documents from the lawsuit state officers called paramedics when he became motionless on the ground. When they arrived, officers told paramedics he was choking because he swallowed a bag of drugs.
Court documents also state an officer shoved a sharp object down his throat to retrieve the bag of drugs, which was never found. Smith claims paramedics were on the scene for approximately 22 minutes trying to resuscitate her son before taking him to the emergency room. He died in the hospital five days later.
Smith is suing for wrongful death, excessive force, unlawful search and seizure, and more. She's asking police to change a list of procedures, including the use of informants, and getting proper training for medically compromised suspects.
Smith is asking for compensatory and punitive damages. Huntsville police told us Tuesday night quote "Our department will not be making any statements concerning that case."