The mother of a District teenager who was shot and killed by a D.C. police officer last spring has filed a $100 million wrongful death suit against the city.
Eighteen-year-old Ralphael Briscoe was killed in April 2011 after being shot by a member of the D.C. police gun recovery unit in Southeast Washington, police said.
Briscoe had committed no crime and posed no danger to police, said the family's attorney Billy Ponds. The teenager was shot in the lower back and buttocks while running from police, Ponds said.
"It was a totally unjustified shooting," Ponds said. "Ralphael was moving in the opposite direction, he posed no danger, and was shot in the back."
The officer who shot Briscoe remains on paid administrative leave and the internal investigation of the shooting is ongoing, said D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump.
A spokesman for the D.C. Office of the Attorney General said the agency does not comment on pending lawsuits.
At the time of the shooting, police officials said Briscoe was carrying a BB gun designed to look like a real handgun.
But Ponds said Briscoe was unarmed and eyewitnesses said they never saw the teenager pull any type of weapon. He said a police surveillance camera captured the events surrounding the shooting, which should show that Briscoe did not have a weapon, Ponds said.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in D.C., at around 2 p.m. on April 26, 2011, plain clothes members of the gun recovery unit were in a gray Dodge Caravan and black sports-utility vehicle in a parking lot on the 2400 block of Elvans Road SE.
When Briscoe exited a gate of an apartment complex, the officers followed him and he ran, the suit said. The officers chased him on foot and in the black SUV.
It was then that the officers on foot drew their weapons and fired at Briscoe, the suit states. He fell face down in the driveway of a single family home, and the officers placed him in handcuffs, the lawsuit says.
Briscoe yelled, "I'm hurt. I'm hurt," and asked if he was going to die, the suit said. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital and died.
The lawsuit claims that a citizen, and not a police officer, called for an ambulance.