0 Comments · Wednesday, April 24, 2013
April 18 marked the two-year anniversary
of the death of David “Bones” Hebert, which prompted his estate to file a
wrongful death lawsuit against Mitchell on April 18, 2012.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Ethics
at 11:46 AM | Permalink
Two-year anniversary prompts inclusion of city of Cincinnati, three more CPD officers
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the death of David “Bones” Hebert, the gangly, inked vagabond, crafty burrito-maker, Punk rocker and rascal whose life ended abruptly one night in Northside, when Cincinnati Police Sergeant Andrew Mitchell fired two rounds into Bones’ thin frame. Bones, who was described by his army of acquaintances as peaceful and thoughtful, left behind a legacy that sparked his friends to form Friends of Bones, a collective formed in response to his fatal police shooting, whose goal is “to support those directly involved in the case, to raise awareness about police violence in our community, and to bring about policy change in police procedures, training, and equipment, while encouraging responsible city leadership.” That spurred the estate of David Paul Hebert to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Sergeant Mitchell on April 18, 2012, a year after the shooting. According to a press release from Paul Carmack, executor of the Hebert estate, the lawsuit today has been expanded to include the city of Cincinnati alleging Monell Claims (referring to municipal officials unconstitutionally or incorrectly dealing with a police misconduct claim) as well as Cincinnati Police officers Lawrence Johnson, Brian Kneller and Nicolino Stavale, for contributing to an atmosphere of danger. (See the expanded lawsuit in its entirety here.) Bones was walking his dog, Shady, with a female friend around 3 a.m. the night of his death. Minutes before, a new acquaintance of Bones, Jason Weller, called 911 to report a man described as Bones to have recently stolen a pirate sword from his apartment, leaving Weller bloodied and alone. Although several of his friends admit he was inclined toward rowdy and wreckless behavior when he was intoxicated, but not violent.Shortly after police stopped Bones and took his official statement, the police report alleges, “Mr. Hebert pulled a 13-inch switchblade knife with a six-inch blade from his pocket, raised his arm, and made a swiping motion with the knife at one of the officers. Sergeant Andrew Mitchell, who was serving as cover officer, drew his firearm as Mr. Hebert turned and stepped toward another officer. Sergeant Mitchell discharged two rounds from his Department-issued firearm, striking Mr. Hebert in left shoulder and left upper chest with both rounds.”Bones was pronounced dead at the scene, and a toxicology report showed he had a blood alcohol level of .33 and traces of psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana. The investigations following his death — all of which exonerated Mitchell and the Police Department from any fault — brought to light a slew of inconsistencies, including conflicting statements from the officers involved, details about where Bones' knife was ultimately found and discrepancies in Weller's story, all of which form a basis for the current lawsuit. Videos retrieved from a Officer Dawson's cruiser cam also show that officers stood by idly, failing to offer any sort of assistance of resuscitation to Bones, seen here (at the 0:04 second mark, it appears Officer Mitchell kicks Bones' arm to check for consciousness). Officer Mitchell in 2008 was involved in another police misconduct allegation after the "Bauer Tasing," when he tased an oblivious teenager from his moving police car without any warning or communication. Christopher Bauer, the teen walking home with his hands in his pockets and listening to his iPod, fell forward onto his face, suffering substantial injury. In the past, Friends of Bones have held fundraisers and community events (often music-oriented, for Bones) to raise awareness about the case and garner support. A city spokesperson directed CityBeat's inquiry about the expanded lawsuit to the city's law department, which as of Thursday afternoon had not returned a voicemail. This story will be updated if the city provides a response.According to court documents, the case will go before a jury Nov. 11.
by Danny Cross
Lawsuit against Sgt. Andrew Mitchell filed one day before anniversary of shooting
The estate of David
“Bones” Hebert filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Cincinnati
Police Sgt. Andrew Mitchell alleging wrongful death and battery in
the April 18, 2011, shooting death of the 40-year-old musician. The
plaintiff in the case is listed as Paul Carmack, administrator of the
estate of David Hebert.
The lawsuit claims that
Hebert was complying with instructions given by an investigating
officer when he was shot and killed by Mitchell. The suit claims
excessive force was used and that Mitchell “acted intentionally,
recklessly, wantonly, and with deliberate indifference to the
constitutional rights of Mr. Hebert.”
Hebert was shot and
killed by Mitchell after officers responded to a
911 call around 3 a.m. during which an intoxicated man alleged to
have been robbed by Hebert and assaulted with a pirate sword. Hebert
was located sitting on a sidewalk on Chase Avenue in Northside about
10 minutes later. During subsequent questioning, officers say Hebert
drew a knife and moved toward an investigating officer, causing
Mitchell to believe the officer’s life was in danger. Mitchell shot
Hebert twice, killing him. Toxicology reports found Hebert to have a
blood alcohol content of 0.33 at the time of his death, along with
marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms in his system.
cleared police of any wrongdoing, but Friends of Bones says the facts
from the investigations show Hebert complied with police
orders during the encounter.
The lawsuit demands a
trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages, along with
attorney’s fees, costs, disbursements and additional relief as the
court deems proper. The suit, which is embedded below, was published
on the “Friends of Bones” website (www.friendsofbones.org).
The incident has drawn
considerable media attention, especially this week in conjunction
with the anniversary of the shooting.
Enquirer on Monday published a story titled “Reports: Cops came
too close in killing of David 'Bones' Hebert” comparing accounts of
the incident in public records to standard Cincinnati Police
Department guidelines, which concluded that “police officers got
dangerously close and failed to have a plan before approaching
Hebert, who police thought was carrying a sword or large knife.”
Magazine’s May issue will feature a story, “Salvaging Bones,”
which is subtitled: “David Hebert was a lot of things: the
dreadlocked maker of burritos; a punk rocker; a womanizing, tatted-up
former Jesus freak with a kind heart and a wild streak. What he
wasn’t was a guy you’d expect to find dead at the end of a police
Sept. 14, 2011 published a story titled “Digging Up Answers for
Bones” in which friends and family of Hebert alleged that Hamilton
County Prosecutor Joe Deters’ closing of the investigation was
CityBeat on May
4, 2011 published a story titled “A Shot in the Dark,” detailing
the early questions that surrounded the incident.