CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (AP) - A $50 million wrongful death lawsuit filed Thursday by the family of a state parole officer fatally shot inside her bedroom by a western New York police officer is calling into question the official account of the shooting.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Buffalo by a lawyer for Sandy Guardiola’s two adult children claims her constitutional rights were violated when the officer conducting a welfare check at the request of her co-workers. She was shot three times insider her apartment near Rochester.
Authorities said Canandaigua police Sgt. Scott Kadien shot the 48-year-old Brooklyn native on Oct. 4, 2017, after she fired her gun once and then pointed the weapon at him while inside her bedroom.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Andrew and Alysa Ocasio, both of Westchester County, said Guardiola’s licensed handgun fired by accident as she grabbed it after Kadien entered her bedroom unexpectedly while she was sleeping.
The lawsuit disputes a state police investigation’s finding that Guardiola pointed the gun at Kadien.
“It is clear from the path of the bullet from Ms. Guardiola’s gun that she never shot or pointed a gun in Kadien’s direction,” according to the lawsuit. “At no time was Kadien in any reasonable fear of being shot by Guardiola.”
Named in the lawsuit are the city of Canandaigua and its police department, Kadien, several employees of the Department of Corrections and Community Services, and the apartment complex’s manager.
DOCCS officials said they’re reviewing the lawsuit but won’t comment on the litigation. A man answering the phone at the apartment complex said no one was available to comment.
Canandaigua City Manager John Goodwin said city officials don’t comment on ongoing litigation.
“We find it important to remind the community that this matter was independently and fully investigated by the New York State Police and they concluded that our officer’s conduct was justified,” he said in a statement.
Authorities said Canandaigua police received a 911 call from a parole office employee in Rochester requesting that someone check on Guardiola’s welfare because she hadn’t shown up for work. But the lawsuit said she wasn’t working out of that office at that time because she had been granted a transfer to the state parole office in Binghamton and was expected to begin working there in mid-October 2017.
According to the lawsuit, she requested the transfer because she was being harassed and bullied at the Rochester office. At the time of the shooting, she was on a medical leave recovering from a vehicle accident.
Jonathan Moore, the attorney representing Guardiola’s family, said she kept a handgun in her apartment because of threats she received from some parolees during her duties, the lawsuit said.
“She taught me and my sister to always fight for what you believe is right and we’re going to make sure that we do everything to make sure that she didn’t live for nothing, “Andrew Ocasio said at a press conference in Canandaigua Thursday.
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