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Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Dallas Police Department

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Susy Solis
Susy joined CBS 11 in January of 2011. Prior to that, she spent ...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Days after a police shooting that left a mentally ill man in critical condition, another Dallas family whose son was shot by a Dallas Police officer filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer who fired the gun.

Collette Flanagan says she sympathizes with the mother of Bobby Bennett, a schizophrenic man who was shot by Dallas Police in front of his home, after his mother called 911 for help, saying her son was not on his medication and was sitting outside with a knife.

Police reported they opened fire because Bennett lunged at them in an aggressive manner, but a neighbor’s surveillance camera shows a different story. Bennett is seen standing still with his arms at his side, when officers opened fire.

“It just made me sick, but thank God there was footage to substantiate that,” Flanagan said.

Her son, Clinton 25, was killed at the hands of a Dallas police officer earlier this year. On March 10th, Dallas Police responded to a disturbance call at an Oak Cliff apartment complex.

Police say Officer Clark Staller first tased Allen, then opened fire when Allen began choking him. Allen was found to have PCP in his system. But his family has long disputed that story.

Flanagan says Allen went to his friends apartment to pick up a television. She did not answer the door and he kept knocking. Then she called 911.

The lawsuit states Allen’s friend called 911 “to appease” the male guest she had in her apartment at the time. The lawsuit also states Allen was trying to walk away from the officer to avoid any problems.

“We have a witness who Clinton comply with the instructions given by Officer Staller – clearly comply- had his hands visible. Yet he was just gunned down, shot seven times,” said Daryl Washington, a Dallas attorney who is representing Flanagan.

That witness did not testify in front of a grand jury on Friday, Oct. 11th.

A Dallas County Grand Jury declined to indict Officer Clark Staller.

One week later, Flanagan filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal district court against the City of Dallas and the officer in question.

Zach Horn, a Dallas attorney who represents Staller said in a statement to CBS 11 News, “Clinton Allen almost killed Officer Staller while high on PCP. Officer Staller had two choices: to save himself before the life was completely choked out of him or have the Chief of Police present his wife with an American flag. The Dallas Police Special Investigations unit, Dallas Police Internal Affairs Division, investigators from the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, and a Dallas County grand jury have all independently concluded that Officer Staller’s actions were justified.”

The lawsuit alleges Dallas police were negligent and used excessive and deadly forced in an unlawful manner.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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