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Lawsuit: Police failed to de-escalate before shooting man

March 16, 2022 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) — A federal lawsuit alleges two Springfield, Oregon, police officers failed to use non-lethal force or de-escalate an encounter with Chase Brooks before one of them fatally shot him.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Brooks’ estate and family, also claims the 911 operator gave police inaccurate information that caused them to “behave in an aggressive and lethal manner,” the Register-Guard reported.

Springfield police officer Eric Pardee shot and killed Brooks on March 14, 2020, in a Best Buy store parking lot on after he allegedly damaged a vehicle with a weapon.

The District Attorney’s office found Pardee’s use of deadly force lawful. City spokeswoman Amber Fossen said the city is aware of the lawsuit and is reviewing the legal complaint.

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Brooks’ family claims the 32-year-old was removing a broken front windshield from his work truck and multiple people misunderstood the situation.

“To passersby this sparked 911 calls, even though he can be seen on Best Buy video going in and out of his toolbox in the bed of his truck to assist in accomplishing this task,” the legal complaint reads.

A man called 911 while talking to Brooks, who the lawsuit claims was “calmly and rationally” telling the man he was breaking out his windshield so he could see to drive home.

The lawsuit adds that dispatchers “by commission or omission, reported to defendant officers a frantic, increasingly out of control, perhaps drunk, individual waving a tire iron,” thereby escalating a “non-violent, sober situation.”

As officers arrived, Pardee got out of the car and in “a matter of seconds” shot Brooks three times even though he was “noticeably slowing down when he heard the officer yell at him,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Pardee and another officer “had both time and practical opportunity for calm deliberation before making the decision to use lethal force.”

The family is asking for damages up to $10 million.