KENTWOOD, Mich — The family of a man killed by police nearly three years ago has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Kentwood, claiming one of its officers acted as “judge, jury and executioner’’ when he shot Lamont Gulley in April of 2016.
Gulley, 43, a suspect in a fatal stabbing, was on the ground, surrounded by police officers, “being tased and being attacked by a vicious police dog,’’ according to the federal lawsuit filed Monday in Grand Rapids.
It claims the Kentwood Police Department and officer Darrin Cline used “excessive and deadly force resulting in the unlawful shooting death of Lamont Gulley.’’
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office ruled the officer was justified in using deadly force.
Investigators determined that Gulley, who was surrounded by police, repeatedly stabbed at a police dog prior to being shot. The dog’s handler, Grand Rapids police officer Tim Hoornstra, was in close proximity to Gulley and was in danger of being wounded.
But the lawsuit contends that Gulley did not pose a threat when he was shot. “Mr. Gulley was effectively in police custody at the time he was shot and killed.’’
Prior to the shooting, police say Gulley stabbed 41-year-old Casey Kempker in the apartment they shared on Pheasant Ridge SE in Kentwood. Officers tracked his footprints in the snow and eventually surrounded him.
Gulley refused police commands to drop a knife and at times told police to shoot him.
“There were several officers within a few feet of the subject at this time and it was evident that the suspect was still posing a threat to the K-9 and nearby officers,’’ according to a 15-page report released in June of 2016 that cleared Cline of wrongdoing.
Police recovered a steak knife with a 4-½ inch serrated blade. Blood on the knife came from both Gulley and Kempker, investigators determined.
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