When a person is killed as a result of negligence, loved ones are often left with many questions. Most often, they want to know if something could have been done to prevent the accident in the first place. In situations that result in wrongful death, it is important to take into account all the factors that played a role in the tragedy.
Recently, two Florida widows filed a complaint against the party they say is responsible for the deaths of their husbands. The two men worked together as Tampa police officers when they were killed. But the women did not file a wrongful death complaint against the man who shot the officers. Instead, they claim the Jacksonville sheriff is at least partially to blame for what happened two years ago.
According to documents, the two officers were on duty and stopped a car for a routine traffic violation. When the officers checked the background of the driver and her passenger, they became suspicious of the passenger. Their computer showed that the male passenger had three active warrants out for his arrest. When the officers tried to arrest him, the passenger shot both officers, fatally wounding them.
At first glance, it may appear as though the passenger is the only party responsible for what happened that night. However, according to the widows’ complaint, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was negligent as well. They failed to maintain accurate records and were negligent in removing the active warrants from their system when it was discovered that the passenger was not involved in the crimes he was charged with.
Reacting to these inaccurate records, the officers tried to arrest a man who likely knew the warrants were invalid. The widows claim that department acted negligently by failing to maintain an accurate and up-to-date system. Had the correct measures been taken, the warrants would not have appeared to the officers and the traffic stop could have concluded peacefully.
In situations like this, it is very important for the family and loved ones to seek legal support. With the right kind of help, compensation can be collected and negligence can be punished appropriately.
Source: Tampa Bay Online, “Officers’ widows sue Jacksonville sheriff,” Keith Morelli, June 27, 2012