Judge blocks wrongful death suit against board of police commiss - KCTV5 News

Judge blocks wrongful death suit against board of police commissioners, fmr. Chief Forte; case proceeds against officer

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Ryan Stokes (File - KCTV5) Ryan Stokes (File - KCTV5)

A federal judge has ruled that only the officers involved in the shooting and killing of a black man in Kansas City nearly five years ago and not the entire department will face a wrongful death lawsuit.

Ryan Stokes was shot and killed by police in a parking lot near Power and Light on July 28, 2013. His loved ones claim he was unarmed and police mishandled the entire situation.

A confrontation broke out at Power and Light concerning a missing cell phone, though Stokes was not a part of that argument. Kansas City police used mace to gain control, and Stokes and his friends ran off and dashed towards a parking lot.

There are different versions for what happened next.

Officers claim Stokes failed to follow verbal directions and that they saw something in his hands.

Loved ones for Stokes say that in the chaos there was hardly any time for Stokes to respond.

Stokes was shot and killed from behind. He had keys and a cell phone in his pocket at the time, and police later found a gun inside a car they said he was heading towards.

MORE: Civil rights group calls for FBI to investigate police shooting death of Ryan Stokes

Loved ones of Stokes say police lied to them and said there was a standoff in an effort to smear Stokes and cover up what really happened.

Stokes’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on the third anniversary of his death. The lawsuit targeted the officer who filed the fatal shot, the police board of commissioners and then KCPD Chief Darryl Forte.

The officers involved in Stokes’ shooting were cleared by a grand jury and later even awarded medals.

Following the news of the judge’s ruling, Cyndy Short, the Stokes’ family attorney, provided a statement, saying in part that they remain, “committed to their pursuit of the truth about the night of Ryan’s death.”

The Stokes and Lee families remain committed to holding [the officer] accountable for taking Ryan’s life. They are committed to their pursuit of the truth about the night of Ryan’s death, and advocating for changes in the department, including training and policy changes that will prevent the unnecessary loss of life, and that will permit the Department to treat victims of police violence compassionately and honestly.

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