- Associated Press - Friday, July 25, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for the family of a student shot to death by a University of South Alabama police officer says a lawsuit in the case is moving from state court to federal court.

A grand jury found that Officer Trevis Austin was justified in shooting Gil Collar. Police said he was naked and banging on a window at a campus police station Oct. 6, 2012. Austin, who went outside to investigate the sound, said Collar was acting erratically and lunged toward him.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Robert Smith granted a request by lawyers for Collar’s parents to dismiss the suit in state court, Al.com reported (https://bit.ly/1zbJNbM ).

Lawyer Ben Locklar, who represents the family, said he plans to file a federal civil rights suit. Locklar said the shooting was not justified.

That decision came after reviewing a video of the October 2012 shooting and other evidence, he said.

“I can say it’s even more obvious that this was a completely unjustified shooting,” Locklar said.

Attorney David Strassburg opposed dismissing the suit from state court.

“The prejudice to Officer Austin and waste of judicial resources in doing so would be enormous and wholly unnecessary,” Strassburg wrote in court documents.

The federal lawsuit will turn on whether Austin acted appropriately instead of, as in the state case, whether he feared for his life, Locklar said.

“It’s a different standard,” he said.


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