MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The family of a black man killed by a Montgomery police officer in February has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officer.
Greg Gunn, 58, was shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer in the early morning hours of Feb. 25 during an encounter that began when an officer stopped Gunn as he was walking home from a late night card game. The district attorney filed murder charges against officer Aaron Smith and a judge in March ruled there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.
The lawsuit says Smith did not have justification to stop Gunn, let alone use deadly force against him and accuses the city of failing to properly train officers and allowing the widespread misuse of stop-and-identify practices.
The Alabama shooting happened ahead of recent national tensions over fatal encounters between police and black men. The fatal shooting of two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Minneapolis suburbs sparked protests across the country. And a black Army veteran killed five police officers at a protest in Dallas.
“When he died, Mr. Gunn was just steps away from the childhood home he shared with his mother, Plaintiff Nellie Ruth Gunn, whom he financially supported. Just before Officer Smith shot Mr. Gunn, Mr. Gunn was heard pounding on his neighbor’s front door and desperately crying out his neighbor’s name at the front of the home,” lawyers for the Gunn family wrote.
The complaint contends Smith didn’t have probable cause to arrest Gunn or use “even minimal force — much less tasing, beating, or shooting.”
A lawyer for the Gunn family was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Griffith Waller, a spokesman for the city, said officials have a policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation. A lawyer for Smith did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.