The family of a Black man who was killed by Sacramento County detectives a year ago in January 2021 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit and they are seeking a lot of money, according to ABC10.
Similar to a family in Louisiana who filed a lawsuit for the 2018 death of Keeven Robinson.
The family’s attorney during a press conference said the family is claiming multiple civil rights violations and is seeking $100 million in damages.
According to ABC10, The man who was shot and killed by Sacramento County Detectives was Kershawn Geyger, who was 25 at the time of his death. Geyger was killed during a traffic stop on January 15, 2021, by detectives with the Gang Suppression Unit. Kershawn’s brother, JW Geiger, was in the passenger seat during the traffic stop and witnessed the entire incident. Geyger had two children and was an electrician and carpenter. His parents, Yaphette and Jethro Geiger are looking for answers from Sacramento County Sheriff’s office into what occurred during the incident a year ago.
“The aftermath of Geyger’s death, the clear lack of transparency and accountability by officials shows that the Sheriff’s Department and county pay little regard to the life and death concerns or expectations of justice from the community,” the suit claims. “Instead, the County and Sheriff’s [Office] has displayed a clear carelessness and lack of remorse for the violent misconduct of deputies.”
At some point during the law enforcement stop, Geyger is accused of firing at a 47-year-old detective, striking the detective in the abdomen and under his protective vest, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. The Geyger family has disputed this accusation and said they hope the lawsuit may help provide answers to.
“Without any answers from the County of Sacramento or its Sheriff’s Department, the family of Kershawn Geyger now turns to the Courts to seek justice for his death at the hands of the Sheriff’s deputies,” said Nathalie Meza Contreras, an attorney representing the Geyger family. “We want justice for Kershawn and his family.”
ABC10 reached out to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for comment. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office said the Sherriff’s Office and County have a long-standing policy not to comment on pending litigation.
Along with the claims of civil rights violations and wrongful death against Sacramento County and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, they are also claiming excessive use of force, according to ABC10.
The excessive use of force by police against people of color has been an issue that has been investigated by police departments across the country.
Per the story from ABC10, “Nearly one year since the violent death of Kershawn Geyger, the deputies continue to work uninterrupted for and with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s [Office] while the friends, family and community of Geyger still grieve his loss and the brutal proof in question of his killing; a change must come,” Attorney Walter Mosley said.
More from ABC10:
The brother to the victim and witness to the shooting incident, JW Geiger, disputed Sheriff’s Office claims in a 2021 interview and said he and his brother had their hands up and that the detectives did not identify themselves and did not use their red and blue flashing lights. The Sacramento Sheriff’s Office said its deputies did identify themselves and used their police lights.
Geyger was being investigated for his alleged involvement in sparking a “gang-related” shootout which was caught on video hours earlier, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office said.
The responding detectives were not equipped with a dash camera or body-worn cameras, according to the Sacramento Sherriff’s Office. The patrol vehicles the men were driving were not equipped with dash cameras because of the discrete nature of the gang unit and officers did not use body cameras at the time.
There was an animated video released by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office that gave an account of how the detectives responded. It also includes a video that was taken by a police helicopter that arrived later to the incident, according to ABC10.
But, just like most of the other claims made by Sacramento County Police, the Geyger family is also disputing the video based on accounts from witnesses, including Kershawn’s brother, JW Geiger.