Man shot in search for homicide suspect sues City of Tallahassee, two officers

Posted at 1:00 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 08:06:59-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A man who was shot while police were pursuing a homicide suspect is suing the City of Tallahassee and the two police officers involved, claiming the officers used excessive deadly force and the city failed to take action for the "wrongful acts."

The lawsuit claims that excessive force was used when Kenny Sharpe was shot once in the pelvis on Jan. 4, 2015.

That night, the car Sharpe and another man, the driver, were in was being pursued by officers that were looking for a fugitive homicide suspect. Documents say TPD Sgt. Brian Davis rammed the car with permission from TPD Lt. Reggie Lawyer, and when an unarmed Sharpe ran from the car, Davis shot him.

"Sharpe was not the driver of the car that had been rammed, did not threaten Davis or any other person, and did not resemble the person sought," according to the lawsuit.

Police were seeking Deondrea Anthony Hudson, the man accused of shooting the victim, 17-year-old Nikolas Doss, a Godby High School football player, in the head on Dec. 31, 2014, killing him.

The complaint said that, when the Sgt. Davis succeeded in ramming the car on his second attempt, Sharpe fled into the darkness so Sgt. Davis opened his patrol car door and quickly fired four shots from his handgun in Sharpe's direction.

"The type and number of hollow point rounds indicates an intent to kill," the document said. "Sgt. Davis fired these rounds in the dark in the hope and hitting and killing the car's passenger, without regard for others living in the neighborhood."

Sharpe was charged with resisting arrest, a charge that was later dropped, the lawsuit said. Sharpe had a warrant for violation of probation unrelated to the police pursuit.

Davis later told Internal Affairs that Sharpe had a gun, the complaint said, but Davis had not told any other officers at the scene or over the radio that he believed Sharpe had a firearm.

"... Sharpe suffered physical injuries, was subjected to indignity, great fear, humiliation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress now and in the future," the complaint said.

The city took no disciplinary action against Davis or Lt. Lawyer, who authorized Davis to do the ramming, the complaint said.

Davis "used unreasonable and excessive deadly force against Mr. Sharpe," the suit alleges," and had no probable cause to believe Sharpe was a murderer, had committed a felony, and was armed.

The lawsuit claims the City of Tallahassee "was aware of a pattern of use of force abuses and the officer's unfitness" and "was deliberately indifferent and reckless in failing to discipline officers for unreasonable uses of force, including deadly force."