Family Of Man Shot, Killed By Police Asking For Reform & Justice In Lawsuit
Jul 23, 2020, 8:32 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm
OGDEN, Utah – The family of a man shot and killed by Ogden police officers is asking for reform and justice in a lawsuit filed in court Thursday.
Attorneys for the Ogden Police Department said Jovany Mercado was approaching four officers aggressively with a knife last August.
Officers could be heard yelling at Mercado to drop the knife in body-camera footage. But he never did, continuing to walk toward officers.
“The man did not respond when addressed by officers. Instead, he looked at them, moved a knife he was holding from his right hand into his left hand, and aggressively flipped open the blade of the knife,” said attorney Heather White said. “The officers had no other choice, but to shoot him to protect themselves, and to protect others.”
The family’s attorney, Robert Sykes, said Mercado was advancing slowly, and that the officers had enough time and space between them to respond with something non-lethal.
He added they never warned that they would shoot.
“There was no warning like, ‘stop or I’ll shoot,’ anything like that, and they just opened fire, four officers,” Sykes said.
Mercado’s father said he’d like to see police reforms in training and to see those four officers taken out of law enforcement.
“It’s got worse for us,” Juan Mercado said. “It’s been almost a year, and it bothers me so bad … that it’s not just happening to me. It’s happening to other multiple families.”
Attorneys for the city said 20 rounds were fired. Sykes said it’s possible that it was really up to 50 rounds.
The Weber County Attorney already ruled the shooting justified and Ogden’s police chief said he stands by his officers.
The initial 911 call said Mercado looked disoriented, maybe under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But his family said something else was going on, and Mercado actually needed help.
Mercado’s sister, Ruby Mercado, said her brother was schizophrenic and not likely under the influence.
“He needed Ogden police to be there and save him that day, but they did not. They took his life instead, when he needed help,” she said.
Officials told KSL TV most, if not all of the four officers involved have since moved on to other departments.
The Mercados are also seeking both economic and emotional damages, although no dollar amount was specified in the complaint.