VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — The family of a Northern California man fatally shot by police last month filed a federal lawsuit demanding the release of officers’ body camera footage of what led up to the gunfire, officials said Wednesday.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and names the San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo and its police department. It alleged the officer who shot Ronell Foster in the back lied about a skirmish that preceded the shooting, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
The unarmed father of two was followed by police for no reason and a witness never saw him struggle with Officer Ryan McMahon before the officer opened fire, the lawsuit alleged.
Vallejo police have refused requests by Foster’s family to review body camera footage of the shooting, according to the lawsuit.
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Police and city officials did not immediately return telephone messages left Wednesday seeking comment.
Officials have said McMahon shot Foster after the 32-year-old attacked the officer with a flashlight during a “violent physical struggle” following a brief pursuit. McMahon opened fire after a stun gun proved ineffective in subduing Foster, officials said last month.
Foster was riding his bike Feb. 13 when he stopped to hang out with some friends, according to the complaint filed Tuesday. Shortly after riding away, McMahon and an unidentified second officer began to follow Foster and that’s when he got off his bike and started running, the lawsuit said.
McMahon chased Foster into a residential alley and struck him on the head with a flashlight and then used a stun gun on the man, the lawsuit said. When Foster again tried to flee, the officer fatally shot Foster in the back and the back of the head, the complaint claimed.
“Now, Mr. Foster’s son and daughter will have to grow up without their father because Officer McMahon decided to play judge, jury and executioner on the streets of Vallejo,” the family’s attorney, John Burris, said in a statement.
This story corrects the spelling of Foster’s first name. It’s Ronell, not Ronnell.