The family of a man shot and killed by Metro police during a March robbery attempt has filed suit against Metro Nashville and the officer who pulled the trigger.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court against Metro, police Canine Officer Joe Shelton and “John Doe police officers #1-#20,” seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages for the March 12 shooting of 40-year-old Reginald Dewayne Wallace near 14th Avenue South.
According to the suit, while Shelton, with help from his canine partner Memphis, tried to apprehend Wallace, the suspect pulled what later turned out to be an iPod from his pocket, prompting Shelton to open fire.
Wallace died about three hours later.
According to a police statement released following the incident, Wallace hid under a deck after being chased by responding officers. Memphis found Wallace and bit into him, clinging to the suspect as he crawled out from under the deck and tried to scale a fence.
Shelton then grabbed Wallace, who police said continued to ignore the officer’s commands. When Wallace pulled the iPod from his pocket, police said Shelton perceived “imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death” and opened fire.
The suits claims, among other things, that Metro deprived Wallace of his rights to protection from unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and due process.
The plaintiffs in the suit are listed as Quiana Johnson — the mother of Wallace’s 1-year-old son Reginald Dewayne Wallace II — Reginald Wallace’s wife Karissa Sweat and his daughter Waynnesia Brooks.
The suit claimed Shelton had shot and killed another man in the line of police duty during March 2007.
A spokesman for Metro police said the department was unaware of the lawsuit.