The city of Kenosha paid a $2 million settlement to the family of an unarmed, Wisconsin man who was shot and killed by police officers in 2004. The proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit have been used by the victim’s parents to promote a change in state laws governing police shooting investigations, which are currently conducted internally.

Recently, the family’s name resurfaced in the news. This time the parents asked the U.S. Justice Department to charge the Kenosha Police Department with the death of their 21-year-old son. Evidence of the fatal accident compiled by a private investigator will go to the FBI.

The traffic stop that resulted in the police suspect’s death was preserved by a dashboard camera. The parents said an internal investigation of the shooting by Kenosha police was a conspiracy to hide evidence and make it appear the officers had acted properly.

The complaint includes a submission of videos in which officers allegedly changed their stories to accommodate the evidence on hand.

A woman whose son was shot and killed by a Milwaukee policeman two years before the Kenosha incident sympathized with the parents’ quest for criminal justice. An internal police investigation absolved the officer of wrongdoing, a memory the mother said she would take to her grave.

The father of the Kenosha man killed by officers wants to know how an internal police shooting investigation could not be biased. He questioned the logic of allowing an organization accused of a death to have the power to forgive itself.

The criminal complaint follows a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. Criminal charges and convictions are not necessary for a plaintiff – a victim, their survivors or an estate – to file for damages. Settlements and civil suits are separate from criminal issues.

The filing of a civil lawsuit, as in some criminal cases, does include time limitations. A personal injury and wrongful death attorney can explain in depth how and when liability charges should be filed.

Source:, “Kenosha family asks for charges to be filed against police,” Nov. 27, 2012