The wife and parents of James E. Dean, 29, and Afghanistan combat veteran, has filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Maryland State Police, St. Mary’s County, Calvert County, and Charles County.
A Maryland state trooper shot Dean in 2006 following a 14-hour standoff between the veteran and SWAT teams and armored vehicles outside his father’s house in St. Mary’s County.
Dean’s family says that Dean had been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and that 16 individual officers, the state, and the three counties acted maliciously and with “callous disregard” for his life during the altercation. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of “needlessly provoking Dean.”
Dean was diagnosed with PTSD and serious depression after he spent a year leading a small infantry division in Afghanistan. He was instructed by the military to head to Iraq for a tour in January 2006.
The night before his death, Dean drank large quantities of alcohol and started throwing plates around the house. His wife, Muriel says she ordered him to leave because she was afraid he would hurt himself.
Dean went to his father’s house. His sister Kelly called police because she heard a gunshot and feared that he would try to kill himself.
Police began arriving. Following several hours of negotiation, police fired tear gas into the house to force Dean out. Dean eventually opened the door and pointed his gun at a state police vehicle. He was shot and killed by a single bullet fired by State Police Sgt. Daniel Weaver.
In 2007, St. Mary’s state’s attorney issued a report that said Dean’s death could have been avoided if police officers had used less aggressive tactics.
The lawsuit says state officers failed to let family members talk to Dean, used paramilitary tactics against a man who was traumatized from war, and neglected to bring a psychiatrist in to diffuse the standoff.
If someone you love has died because of the negligent actions of another party, you should contact our Maryland wrongful death law firm immediately.
Veteran’s Family Sues Police, Counties, Washington Post, April 9, 2008
Reservist Due for Iraq Is Killed in Standoff With Police, Washington Post, December 27, 2006
Related Web Resources:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, National Institute of Mental Health
Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen today.