The parents of a Georgia Tech student who was killed by campus police in September 2017 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school. The Board of Regents and the officer involved in the shooting were also named in the lawsuit.
Prior to the shooting, the 21-year-old engineering student was on campus holding a multi-tool and yelling for police to kill him. Five campus police officers responded to the incident and surrounded the student. The student continued to yell at police while officers initiated negotiation and de-escalation tactics. After repeatedly asking the student to drop the weapon, the student didn’t comply and walked toward the officers. One of the officers fired then a shot at the student, hitting him in the chest. He later died at the hospital.
The lawsuit alleges that the student was suffering from mental illness at the time of the incident and that Georgia Tech did not provide officers with adequate training in regards to mental illness and how to deal with an individual having a mental breakdown. The suit also alleges that the officers were not provided with tasers that could be used to safely stop an incident without harming or killing the individual in question.
Businesses have the legal responsibility to ensure that the property where they operate is safe. This includes providing security officers as needed and properly training any staff and officers in the place of business. If they don’t, the business may be responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur due to premises liability. In this case, Georgia Tech was responsible for keeping the students on campus safe by providing properly trained officers and any necessary equipment for the officers. The officers may not have been properly trained in how to deal with a mentally unstable individual. Because the school didn’t provide adequate security and training, they may be responsible for wrongful death damages to the family.