Fouad's Family Fights Back
The Spence Law Firm on Tuesday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against two police officers, a city and a county government for the shooting death of Fouad Kaady one year ago this week.
The plaintiffs are Samira and Rachid Kaady, Fouad's parents, and Vania and Andrea Kaady, his siblings. Famed litigator Gerry Spence practices law with his son Kent in Jackson, Wyoming. They are joined on the case by local counsel Michelle R. Burrows, an attorney from Northwest Portland.
The lawsuit claims that Clackamas County deputy Dave Willard and police officer William Bergin "wrongfully and unreasonably tased, shot and killed" Kaady, who was 27 at the time of his death. In addition to the two officers, who are being sued in their individual and official capacities, the suit targets the City of Sandy and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office that "employed, trained and supervised the officers ... for the tortuous acts of the officers as well as the unconstitutional policies and practices which resulted in the unlawful death of Fouad Kaady".
On September 8, 2005, Fouad Kaady was driving his car when he was suddenly severely burned on his upper chest, arms, head and face by the explosion of a gasoline can in the car. The injuries caused him to wreck his vehicle, become confused and disoriented, and remove his clothing. The burns caused by the explosion caused large sections of his skin to peel away from his body causing significant bleeding. Multiple witnesses made calls to 911 to report what had happened and police and fire services were dispatched.
The lawsuit states that Deputy Willard was the first to respond to the scene. Soon after arriving at the site of the accident, Willard received and responded to a radio call about a man behaving irrationally near his location. One of the first 911 calls came from a woman who saw Fouad staggering down the street naked and bleeding --- with pieces of his skin falling off. She reported to the operator that he was severely injured, unarmed, and appeared to be in shock. Several similar calls followed.
When the two officers arrived at Fouad's location, according to the suit, they emerged with their guns drawn to find Fouad "sitting in the middle of the street, cross legged, naked, bleeding, skin peeling off." Though Fouad remained seated, calm and non-responsive, the suit alleges that the officers refused to allow a responding ambulance to approach the scene to treat the burn victim.
Rather than allow waiting medical attention to reach Fouad, the two officers pulled a shotgun from the trunk of the vehicle and ordered Fouad to lie on his stomach on the hot asphalt on his severely burned flesh. When Fouad did not respond, officer Bergin told him to get on his stomach or he would be tased. Foaud was non-responsive to all commands and sat calmly in the street.
Though Fouad had exhibited no threat to the officers or anyone else nearby, both officers tased Fouad repeatedly and continued to order him to lie on his stomach. The lawsuit claims that being shot in the back with "high charges of electric shock from the taser weapons ... left the young man with no choice but to flee from the assaulting officers."
Witnesses independently reported that Fouad begged the officers to stop tasing him. The suit claims that he responded to the pain and unprovoked assault by standing and trying to remove himself from the range of the taser weapons. He tried to elude his torment by running around the area in a dazed and confused state, finally climbing on top of the patrol car. Witnesses reported that Fouad never approached the officers or threatened them in any way. Nor did he attempt to flee the area.
The lawsuit states that while Fouad was "standing naked and obviously unarmed on top of the patrol vehicle, both officers, in acts of extreme use of excessive and unwarranted force, shot multiple rounds, hitting Fouad's body seven times. Fouad, fatally injured, fell from the top of the patrol car to the ground, dying from the gunshot wounds."
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages for unconstitutional use of excessive and deadly force, violations of the 4th and 14th Amendments and wrongful death by both officers and the government agencies that employed and trained them.
The lawsuit states that the actions of the officers who killed Fouad were "tortuous, wrongful, objectively unreasonable, deliberately indifferent, negligent, grossly negligent, oppressive, malicious, reckless and outrageously indifferent to a highly unreasonable risk of harm, consciously indifferent to Fouad Kaady's health, safety, and welfare, in reckless disregard of Fouad Kaady's rights, motivated by evil motive or intent, and recklessly or callously indifferent to Fouad Kaady's federally protected rights".
Both officers are still on patrol and neither has been disciplined for their actions.
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