Wife of man shot & killed by East Baton Rouge deputy files lawsuit
BATON ROUGE - The wife of a man who was shot and killed by a deputy responding to a disturbance in an East Baton Rouge neighborhood earlier this month has filed a wrongful death suit.
The suit names Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and the unidentified deputy as defendants in the lawsuit tied to the Sept. 14 shooting of Melvin Watkins.
According to the document, the incident began after Watkins arrived at a family birthday party in the Highland Club neighborhood. A confrontation sparked between Watkins and other partygoers when he refused to leave, leading one of the attendees to call 911 so that an officer might remove him from the premises.
Watkins' wife says he had just gotten into his vehicle to leave when the deputy pulled in front of the residence.
The lawsuit claims it took "less than nine seconds" after the deputy arrived to point his gun at Watkins and fire two shots through his windshield. The suit goes on to allege the shots caused Watkins to lose control of lower extremities, causing his foot to hit the gas pedal and accelerate the car in the deputy's direction. The deputy then fired three more shots into the car, killing Watson before his car careened down the street and flipped in front of another home
The filing goes on to say that Watkins was unarmed and at no time provoked or posed a threat to the deputy. She adds that the escalation of events showed "reckless disregard"for Watkins' rights.
Watkins' wife says the deputy and the sheriff are liable for the death, alleging the department failed to properly train its deputies regarding the use of deadly force.
She is now seeking compensation for damages including suffering, anguish, extreme pain, and loss of wages and benefits.
The sheriff's office said last week that Louisiana State Police is in the process of investigating the shooting.
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