Sep. 15—The household of a 52-year-old Farmington man fatally shot by law enforcement officials who went to the unsuitable residence in response to a caller’s report of home violence has filed a wrongful loss of life lawsuit in opposition to town of Farmington and the three officers who killed him.
It was about 11:30 p.m. April 5 when police knocked on the Dotson household’s door, in accordance with the civil criticism filed Friday in U.S. District Court docket.
Robert Dotson “placed on his gown and went downstairs to reply the knock. For private safety, he carried his handgun with him which was saved on high of the fridge … not understanding what he would possibly encounter at that late hour,” the lawsuit says.
At about the identical time, the go well with says, Officers Daniel Estrada, Dylan Goodluck and Waylon Wasson”have been realizing they have been on the unsuitable residence and have been laughing about it.” They’d been dispatched to a house down the block and throughout the road, 5308 Valley View, however had mistakenly arrived on the Dotsons’ residence, 5305 Valley View.
“Mr. Dotson opened his entrance door and was blinded by police flashlights,” the lawsuit says. “The police didn’t announce themselves, and Mr. Dotson had no thought who was in his yard shining vivid lights at him.
“Seeing the gun in Mr. Dotson’s hand, the Farmington law enforcement officials opened fireplace with out warning, instantly firing 12 bullets into the physique of Robert Dotson, killing him,” the go well with continues.
The officers nonetheless had not introduced themselves as police, in accordance with the lawsuit, filed by Santa Fe attorneys Doug Perrin and Thomas Clark. “Mr. Dotson didn’t shoot.”
Having heard the pictures, the lawsuit says, Kimberly Dotson got here downstairs in her gown and noticed her husband mendacity in his blood within the doorway. Nonetheless not understanding what had occurred, she “fired exterior at whoever had shot her husband.”
The three Farmington officers fired 19 rounds at her, the lawsuits says, however she was not struck by a bullet.
When the officers lastly introduced themselves, Kimberly Dotson nonetheless didn’t understand what had occurred and requested for his or her assist, telling them somebody had killed her husband, in accordance with the criticism.
The officers didn’t initially disclose they have been on the unsuitable deal with, acknowledge their error or try to guard or console Kimberly Dotson and the couple’s two youngsters, it says. Quite, they handcuffed all three relations and took them to the police station for questioning.
The lawsuit accuses the officers of willful, malicious and reckless conduct and seeks an unspecified quantity of compensatory and punitive damages “to punish the defendants and deter others cities, police departments and law enforcement officials from such shameful, inconsiderate, unreasonable and murderous conduct.”
A spokeswoman for the Farmington Police Division directed inquiries to legal professional Luis Robles, who stated Friday the officers weren’t the one ones who made a mistake that evening; Robert Dotson did, too, he stated.
“Mr. Dotson took it upon himself to reply the door with a gun, so when it comes to errors, Mr. Dotson made a horrible misjudgment by opening the door and pointing a gun at legislation enforcement officers when as an alternative he might have checked out his Ring digicam feed or seemed by the window and seen who was there,” stated Robles, who represents the officers and town.
“However as an alternative of doing what any of us would possibly do earlier than opening the door at evening, he opened it with a gun, pointing at my shoppers,” Robles stated.
As for the allegation the officers did not instantly speak in confidence to Kimberly Dotson they have been on the unsuitable home, Robles stated, “That is an odd allegation. Taking pictures at them would not lend itself to a dialog about what had simply occurred.”
The three officers initially have been positioned on go away following the incident, however a division spokeswoman stated in an e mail Estrada and Goodluck have been returned to full responsibility, whereas Wasson “is on a short lived project.”
Robles stated Friday it was his understanding Wasson had taken go away for a purpose unrelated to the capturing.