YORK, Pennsylvania — The family of a knife-and-scissor-wielding man whose fatal shooting by police was captured on dashboard video filed an $8 million federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday alleging officers acted unlawfully and a prosecutor who reviewed the case covered up what happened.
The lawsuit comes nearly two years after two officers shot Todd William Shultz 17 times near the entrance to a Kmart store in Springettsbury Township, outside York. Shultz had been shoplifting inside, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said, and resisted multiple attempts by officers to arrest him.
Outside the store, Kearney said, Shultz waved the knife and scrambled back to his feet after officers struck him with batons and a stun gun during a standoff. The officers can be heard on the video imploring Schultz to drop his weapons, yelling, "We don't want to hurt you!" and "Please drop it, sir!" to no avail.
Officers opened fire as Shultz, 40, appeared to move toward the doorway.
Kearney cleared Cpl. Gregory Hadfield and Officer James Miller of wrongdoing in April 2013, saying they were "clearly in imminent danger" of serious injury or death and had no choice but to use deadly force.
Shultz family attorney Devon Jacob called the shooting "shocking and unlawful" and told The York Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1wlalYA ) that Kearney's conclusions aren't supported by the video.
Jacob, in an interview with the newspaper, questioned why officers kept firing after the first series of six shots caused Shultz to stagger and turn away.
"Granted, he didn't put the knife down. But there was nothing that required them to fire again," Jacob told the newspaper. "Basically, there was a standoff at that point. They have him at gunpoint."
Information from: The York Dispatch, http://www.yorkdispatch.com