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Family of handcuffed man killed in West Valley City police station files federal lawsuit

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Posted at 1:19 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 15:19:13-04

WEST VALLEY CITY — The mother of Michael Chad Breinholt, the man killed while handcuffed inside a West Valley City police station two years ago, has filed a federal lawsuit, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

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The 31-year-old Breinholt was shot by officers after he wrestled with them inside the station on Aug. 23, 2019. Breinholt was in custody following a DUI arrest and was waiting in the intoxilyzer room while officers obtained a warrant to draw blood.

Body cam video showed Breinholt reaching for an officer's gun during the fight, leading to another officer shooting and killing him.

After a lengthy investigation, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting was justified in July.

In her lawsuit, Susan Neese, Breinholt's mother, claim's her son's civil rights were violated by Sgt. Tyler Longman, the officer who fired the shot that killed Michael. The lawsuit admits that Breinholt's hand was on the officer's duty belt, gun holster or gun handle, but adds it would have been impossible for him to have pulled out the weapon and use it.

“Chad only weighed approximately 125 pounds and his hands were cuffed behind his back,” the lawsuit reads. “He was also highly intoxicated, overmedicated, weakened, delirious, confused, and reacting slowly. It was not difficult for multiple officers to physically push and control Chad.

“By the time Longman announced he was about to kill Chad, [two officers] had already successfully restrained Chad and neutralized any possible threat, which never actually existed, that Chad could obtain any of the officers’ weapons.”

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Along with Sgt. Longman, Neese's lawsuit names the entire West Valley City police department, Chief Colleen Jacobs and other officers in the room when Breinholt was shot.