Camille Campos is alleging police brutality in the Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit she has filed against police officer Christopher Van Ness and the town of Yarmouth. The officer fatally shot Andre Luiz de Castro Martins following a high-speed police pursuit.
At the time, media reported that on July 27, 2008, Van Ness attempted to pull Martins, 25, over. A police pursuit ensued when Martins wouldn’t stop the vehicle.
Campos says her boyfriend, a Brazilian national, wanted to avoid arrest because he was in the US illegally. Police say that Martins had been at a bar and smoked pot before the car chase. The high-speed pursuit ended when Martin’s drove his vehicle onto a lawn.
According to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s report, Van Ness got out of the vehicle and approached Martins, who then allegedly tried to hit the cop with his car. That’s when Van Ness shot Martins through the lung and heart. Van Ness has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
However, Campos and others in the Brazilian committee disagree with this finding.They say that Van Ness used excessive force when apprehending Martins. The police officer has also been accused of violating the Martin’s constitutional rights and depriving the victim’s children with Campos of a father’s support and love. Campos says the experience caused her emotional trauma and physical signs of injury. She says the town of Yarmouth failed to properly train Van Ness to do his job.
Police are supposed to refrain from using excessive force when apprehending or arresting anyone. Per Lectlaw, they are only allowed to use the degree of force reasonably necessary to make an illegal arrest. Excessive use of force is a violation of one’s civil rights and can lead to Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death.
Yarmouth police officer, town sued in fatal shooting, Cape Cod Times, November 5, 2009
Excessive Force, Lectlaw
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