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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Louisville Meets Settlement with Family of Man Shot by Cops While Holding a Tree Saw

Darnell Wicker was shot 14 times only seconds after hearing officers tell him to drop the saw.

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Darnell Wicker’s family members fight for justice.
Darnell Wicker’s family members fight for justice.
Screenshot: WLKY News Louisville (Fair Use)

The family of Darnell Wicker, a man shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police while holding a tree saw, has reached a $1.25 million settlement with the city in the lawsuit against the officers responsible, reported the Louisville Courier Journal. Though money can’t replace the life that was lost, the family attorney said they are feeling some relief.

In the lawsuit, Wicker’s family accused officers Taylor Banks and Beau Gadegaard and the police department of the wrongful death of Wicker. The suit also claimed the two officers didn’t attempt to use nonlethal force and fired within seconds of seeing Wicker, not giving him enough time to drop the tree saw.

More on the case from Louisville Courier Journal:

Court documents noted the hearing issues of Wicker, an Army veteran who spent 17 years in active service. A toxicology report showed he had high levels of cocaine in his system when he was shot.

The officers later testified that Wicker “looked tense” and “like he wanted to kill” them as he exited the apartment, with Gadegaard explaining that he fired his gun when Wicker swung the saw across his own body.

But according to court documents, an expert who analyzed the video on behalf of Wicker’s daughters said he moved the saw from his right hand to his left hand and kept it pointed downward at his side before the officers fired 14 shots at him and left Wicker bleeding on the ground just to the right of the apartment door.

The officers were also accused in the lawsuit of handcuffing a wounded Wicker and not attempting to provide any aid while he bled to death.

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Wicker’s daughters also accused the police department of negligent training and destroying the evidence of the shooting.

Al Gerhardstein, one of the family attorneys, said the settlement was reached in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. He also said the case is much bigger than the money, noting the importance of use-of-force investigations, per Louisville Courier Journal.