- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

HOUMA, La. (AP) - The parents of a 14-year-old boy shot and killed by a Terrebonne Parish deputy have filed a federal lawsuit claiming the sheriff’s office violated the teenager’s constitutional rights.

Deputy Preston Norman fatally shot Cameron Tillman Sept. 23, 2014, at an abandoned home near Houma. On March 26, a grand jury declined to indict Norman, who said in a state police report that Tillman had pointed a pistol-like BB gun at him.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1KAsPId) Wyteika Tillman and Morrell Turner filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans against Sheriff Jerry Larpenter, Norman and deputy Andrew Lewis, who also responded to the home. The sheriff’s office had gotten a report that people had entered the house with guns.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages.

Tillman’s brother, Andre Tillman, is also listed as a plaintiff, along with Yolanda Tillman, Tamika Payne, Shonell Thomas and Brenekie Thomas, whose four minor children were in the home at the time of the shooting.

Attorneys Carol Powell Lexing, of Monroe; Benjamin Crump, of Tallahassee, Fla.; and John Wayne Milton, of Lafayette, represent the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, including for psychological harm, mental pain and suffering, and funeral and burial expenses. Lexing said they will determine a specific amount later.

“We’re seeking justice on behalf of the family, and the hope is that no other family has to go through what this family has gone through,” she said. “We want the police to be held accountable.

The lawsuit alleges the sheriff’s office violated the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights of those in the home. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures; the Fifth and 14th allow for due process; and the Eighth prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

According to the lawsuit, Tillman was “nonviolent” and “posed no threat” before he was killed. He, his brother and four friends were sitting around a table in the abandoned home, which they used as a clubhouse, talking and listening to music.

The plaintiffs accuse Norman of not announcing himself as he knocked three times on the door under the carport. They say the BB gun was on the table and Tillman opened the door empty-handed.

Bill Dodd, attorney for the sheriff’s office, said he had not seen the lawsuit but generally doesn’t comment on pending litigation. However, he said he believes the deputies were properly trained and acted correctly.


Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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