- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - An attorney defending a former Columbus police officer against a wrongful death lawsuit questions whether the plaintiff is actually the father of the deceased.

In a motion filed Tuesday in federal court in Aberdeen, the Commercial Dispatch (https://bit.ly/2loDXFz) reported that attorney Jeffrey Reynolds stated that Ricky Martin’s relationship to Ricky Ball is unproven.

Former officer Canyon Boykin has said he shot Ball after the 26-year-old appeared to point a gun at Boykin during a foot chase in 2015. Boykin, who is white, faces manslaughter charges in addition to two civil suits.

Reynolds said Martin isn’t shown as Ball’s father on Ball’s birth certificate and questioned whether he has standing to sue. Martin, claiming to be Ball’s father, filed the suit last October.

In an interview, Reynolds said Martin could have taken several steps, such as obtaining an order of paternity from a court, before Ball’s death to establish that he is Ball’s father. However, he said that’s no longer an option because Ball is dead.

“You could prove today that you were Ricky Ball’s blood father, but if you didn’t fit in one of Mississippi’s provisions, it wouldn’t matter,” Reynolds said.

The lawyer said he also wants dismissed a second wrongful death lawsuit brought on behalf of Martin’s daughter.

Both civil suits raise similar complaints against Boykin, former officers Garrett Mittan and Yolanda Young, current officer Johnny Branch, former Columbus Police Chief Tony Carleton, the city of Columbus and 10 unidentified police officers.

The suits accuse the officers of failing to activate their body cameras and dishonestly reporting the events surrounding the case. They also accuse the city of failing to properly fund and train the police force.

Lawyers for Martin and Ball’s daughter did not respond to requests for comment.


Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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