LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Louisville Metro Police officers who shot and killed Darnell Wicker on Aug. 8 were not required to give the dying man “on-scene medical care,” according to a motion filed on behalf of the officers named in Wicker's wrongful death lawsuit.
Attorneys for the officers argued in court records filed Friday that any claims of alleged negligence by officers in failing to assist Wicker “must be dismissed” because such care is not required by state law, saying it is a "non-existent constitutional right."
As part of the suit, Wicker's daughter's Danielle Cleveland and Dominique Wicker, claim Officers Taylor Banks, Beau Gadegaard and Brian Smith were “deliberately indifferent to Wicker’s medical needs” because they failed to render aid while waiting for EMS to arrive after the Aug. 8 shooting.
The lawsuit argues the officers knew, or should have known, that Wicker was bleeding to death and “their aid and intervention was necessary to increase the likelihood” of his survival.
But past rulings in other cases have established there is no “affirmative duty on the part of police officers to personally render aid,” according to the motion to dismiss.
The attorneys cited a federal case out of Ohio in which officers did not apply a tourniquet to a man who had been shot. The U.S. District Court ruled that police officers had “fulfilled their duty” by calling for Emergency Medical Technicians to render aid.
“Police officers are trained in the art of policing, not the medical sciences,” attorneys for the LMPD officers wrote. “Treating multiple bullet wounds requires skill and training, and a police officer with only rudimentary medical training could easily make a gunshot victim’s condition worse, not better.”
Josh Abner, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney's office, said “outside counsel was hired to represent the individually named officers, as is standard practice when there is a pending investigation.”
Wicker, 57, was shot and killed by Banks and Gadegaard after police responded to a domestic violence call at the Broadleaf Arms Apartments.
The federal lawsuit also claims the officers “unreasonably and unjustifiably cut off their blue lights prior to entering the parking lot of the apartment complex” and “did not announce themselves as law enforcement.”
It alleges that the officers fired at Wicker “more than seven times within two seconds” of him walking outside. Wicker’s daughters say their father “was holding a tree saw” but he “was neither charging nor lunging at any of the officers.”
The two officers who fired their weapons were placed on administrative duty while an internal investigation is pending. Smith did not fire his weapon and is not on leave.
Louisville Metro Government and Police Chief Steve Conrad, among others, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
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