A federal lawsuit was filed on Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and their target is the Scottsdale Police Department.
The ACLU is accusing the department of misconduct and excessive force -- for shooting and killing a man who was holding his 7-month-old grandson.
On February 14, SPD officer James Peters shot 50-year-old John Loxas in the forehead. According to the police, they believed Loxas was armed and they were trying to prevent him from re-entering his south Scottsdale home. They felt they were saving and rescuing the child.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of Loxas' 23-year-old daughter, Alexandria Loxas and his father, John Loxas, Sr. The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of damages and will be represented by the ACLU and Chicago-based law firm Loevy & Loevy.
During a news conference Monday morning, Alexandria said, "My father was literally ripped from my son's arms by a bullet from a man who used his badge of authority as an excuse for his poor judgement and target practice. We..as a community, put our trust in the Scottsdale Police Department to serve at protect us. I don't feel protected."
Neo, now 14 months old, fell to the ground after her father was shot. He was not injured.
Scottsdale police say a pistol was found inside Loxas' home, along with another weapon.
In a statement from the ACLU, Alexandria said, "My father was my best friend...I felt safe knowing I had him in our lives because he was always there to protect us, and now he's gone forever."
"There may well be no other police officer in the country who has been involved in more fatal shooting incidents over this time period," said attorney John Loevy of Loevy & Loevy. "Our lawsuit alleges that the Department had no business trusting him with a gun after he had killed so many other Scottsdale residents."
Officer Peters is currently on medical leave from SPD.
At the news conference, the ACLU displayed a history of Peters' shootings on a poster. In November of 2002, Peters was involved in seven shootings, of which six were fatal.
In addition to listing Peters as a defendant, the lawsuit also names Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell and the city of Scottsdale.
Statement from Scottsdale Police
"The Scottsdale Police Department is still in the process of this multi faceted review which includes a review of the facts by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. We have been informed that the MCAO will not be seeking criminal charges in this matter. This has allowed us to move toward finalization of our internal investigation and review by Departmental and City Staff. We urge the community to allow this very complex process to take place. When the entire process is complete, the results will be made public."
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