- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man alleges in a lawsuit that police fatally shot his unarmed brother, even though relatives warned that the brother was suicidal and trying to bait officers.

Chris McHenry of Kansas City, Kansas, filed the lawsuit last week in federal court. He alleges that police were “reckless and careless” in the 2014 shooting of his 18-year-old brother Joseph Jennings in an Ottawa store parking lot, according to the Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2fAl6p0 ).

The shooting was deemed to be justified. The Franklin County attorney determined that Jennings was shot after pointing a dark item, which turned out to be black sunglasses, toward officers. Court documents show that night Jennings walked to the store and dialed 911, reporting a man waving a gun around and giving a description of himself. When police arrived, Jennings refused to show his hands before pulling what officers thought was a firearm from his waistband. According to the lawsuit, five officers and sheriff’s deputies fired 29 bullets. Jennings was struck by the bullets eight or nine times.

The lawsuit said two family members at the scene told officers that Jennings was trying to goad the officers into shooting him to commit suicide. Some of the officers at the scene of the shooting were the same ones who had taken Jennings to a hospital the night before, because he had attempted suicide. Jennings was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and pseudo seizures, according to court documents.

The lawsuit seeks a judgment of $75,000, in addition to punitive damages and attorneys’ costs.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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