SALT LAKE CITY — The family of a 13-year-old boy who was shot by a police officer in Salt Lake City in September is suing the department.
Linden Cameron was shot and wounded Sept. 4 after running from officers near the area of 500 South and Navajo Street. Police were dispatched after his mother called for help, saying he was "out of control" and needed to be taken to the hospital.
His parents, Golda Barton and Michael Cameron, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Monday. They are suing the officer who shot him, as well as SLCPD Chief Mike Brown and the city.
Linden has autism and Asperger's syndrome, as stated in the lawsuit and publicly disclosed by his mother following the shooting.
The lawsuit alleges that Linden was unarmed, and that after shooting him 11 times the officer "forcibly" pulled his arm out from under his body, handcuffed his hands behind his back and rolled him onto his back, pinning his arms — all this after Linden told the officer he couldn't feel his left arm.
The lawsuit says his left arm is paralyzed. It also says he sustained ankle injuries that required "surgery and hardware," internal organ damage, and other injuries. He also suffered "severe emotional and mental anguish and trauma," the lawsuit states.
It also points out that Linden hadn't committed a crime, nor was he being investigated for one, and that the officer who shot him didn't use any form of de-escalation or less-lethal means of subduing him.
The lawsuit states that his mother had called 911 to request a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) and a “mental health worker, because he’s sick.” However, four officers were instead dispatched.
"These SLCPD officers were not trained as mental health workers," it states. "These SLCPD officers were not trained as crisis intervention team officers. These officers were not certified in Sensory Inclusive Training which is designed to handle foreseeable situations involving people with disabilities like autism. These SLCPD officers did not receive adequate de-escalation training."
The lawsuit alleges that as officers discussed the situation after responding to the area but before going to the house, they "were unable to recall whether the policy even permitted them to approach L.C. under the circumstances."
It states that one officer even said: "If this is a psych issue, I don’t see why we should even approach... We should call sergeant, because I’m not about to get in a shooting because he’s upset."
Another officer — the one who ultimately shot Linden — agreed, saying: "Especially when he hates cops, it’s going to end in a shooting."
The boy's mother told police that he may have had what she believed was a BB or pellet gun.
"Despite these voiced concerns, at no time did the officers call a sergeant or seek guidance," the lawsuit reads. "Rather, the officers ... descended on L.C.’s home with their guns drawn."
In addition to the injuries from the shooting, along with the "extreme pain and suffering" and "permanent disfigurement" it caused, the lawsuit also claims Linden lost "enjoyment of life."
It also claims his parents "suffered a loss of filial relationship, including their relational interest such as losses of L.C.’s company, society, cooperation, and affection."
The family is seeking economic, non-economic, consequential, compensatory and punitive damages "in an amount to be determined at trial." They also seek compensation for attorneys' fees and costs, as well as "further relief as the Court deems proper." They are "demand[ing] a trial by jury on all claims."
The shooting is still being investigated by an officer-involved critical incident team comprised of law enforcement outside of SLCPD.
To donate to the family of the victim via GoFundMe, click here.