Section: CAPITAL REGION Page: B5 Date: Thursday, July 23, 1998
SLAIN MAN'S FAMILY TO SUE COP, CITYBECHETTA JACKSON Staff writer
The family of a man killed by police officers last week has filed notice that it will sue the city and the officer who fired the fatal shotgun blast.
A notice of claim filed in Watervliet City Court Wednesday afternoon accuses police Officer Joseph Torre of ``intentionally, negligently and recklessly'' discharging the 12-gauge shotgun that killed Brian L. Myers, 36. Myers was waving a weapon at the time that turned out to be an empty pellet gun, police reports say. The claim also charges that the department was negligent in deploying Torre, a traffic officer. Torre responded to a call for backup at 211 Seventh Ave. in the early morning hours of July 16. The notice was filed by Albany attorney Randall Kehoe on behalf of Myers' family, seeking ``substantial'' monetary damages for pain and suffering as well as loss of services for Myers' mother and his two sons. ``This officer made a gross error in judgment,'' Kehoe said.
The forthcoming lawsuit, which will be filed in approximately 30 days, will seek damages for Myers' mother, Rita Myers, as well as his two sons, Brian Jr., 14, and Joshua, 11. The amount of damages being sought was not indicated in the three-page document filed Wednesday. Charles Straughter, who lives in the downstairs flat of the Seventh Avenue residence owned by Myers' girlfriend, said Wednesday that at least three people told police before the shooting that Myers was holding a BB gun. Straughter said he initially called police to the residence because Myers' girlfriend, Cheryl Mousseau, wanted him out of her house. When the first officer arrived on the scene, Straughter said he told the officer the weapon was only a BB gun. Straughter said he returned to his residence seconds later and called police again to make sure they knew the unloaded gun was not real. ``I talked to a dispatcher named Jamie,'' he said. ``She was talking over the radio and you could hear our conversation from the patrol cars. I just didn't want it to be a senseless killing.'' He said his girlfriend, Wanda, who lives with him, also cautioned police about the gun, as did Mousseau. Police have said that Myers was pointing the gun at officers and threatening them. At one point, Myers also told police that the gun was real, Police Chief Francis Landrigan has said. Statements and evidence in the case have been turned over to the Albany County district attorney's office to review and determine if the case should be presented to a grand jury. Chief Landrigan has said that he welcomes a grand jury review.