Attorneys for the family of a man who was killed by a police officer in Florida City in May are preparing to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the department and the city.
Juvan Simon, 23, was shot and killed May 30 by a Florida City detective. Police claimed Simon was armed with a gun and had a high-powered rifle within reach of him at the time he was shot. However, witnesses at the scene said they did not see any weapons and that the detective had fired his bullets through a closed door, making it impossible to know whether the weapons were actually at the scene.
The detective and another officer were at Simon’s apartment complex conducting an investigation when the shooting occurred. Very few other details have been made public about the incident. Simon was on the floor for 13 minutes until he passed away.
Simon’s family is now laying the groundwork for a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. They allege the officer fired two shots through the door “out of frustration.” The family also claims Simon and the detective knew each other before the shooting, and that Simon was subject to routine harassment.
The detective has not faced any criminal charges or discipline after the shooting.
Wrongful death has a lower burden of proof
Many cases involving shooting deaths feature wrongful death lawsuits in addition to (or in place of) criminal cases. While criminal cases are brought by the government as a means of punishing the offender, wrongful death claims are civil suits brought by the family of the victim for the purposes of securing compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages. The burden of proof is only that it was “more likely than not” that the defendant’s actions caused the death, rather than “beyond reasonable doubt” as in criminal cases.