25-year-old black man, Kershawn Geyger, was killed in Sacramento County. Outside of the Crestview North Apartments in Carmichael, on January 15 of 2021. Allegedly, the car he was driving was associated with gang violence, and he was shot and killed by police officers. Now, his family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit and seeking $100M in damages.
Geyger was a father of two and worked as an electrician and carpenter, according to family. His family is asking the Sheriff’s office to provide answers. A legal response from the Sheriff’s Office is required by January 28.
Kershawn Geyger was stopped by detectives with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Gang Suppression Unit, during a traffic stop in early 2021. According to an ABC10 article released around the time of the original incident, Geyger had just dropped off his two-year-old daughter and her mother at the apartment.
Officers claim to have stopped Geyger because of his potential connection to gang violence. According to a claim by authorities, noted in an article by KCRA, Geyger was tracked down through surveillance video and seen firing shots in a parking lot where many people, including two children, were gathered.
According to a more recent ABC10 article, his brother JW Geiger was in the passenger seat and saw the entire incident play out with law enforcement. Although Kershawn Geyger has been accused of firing at a 47-year-old detective, his family has disputed that this is the case.
Apparently neither Kershawn nor his brother fired any shots that night. JW thinks that the injury may have been due to friendly fire from one of the other detectives. “I believe that the one on my side, also shot through the window, and I believe it may have hit the other officer.”
Additionally, according to JW, neither of the two brothers knew that they were being approached by police until one of them was in handcuffs, as they didn’t announce that this was the case, nor did they use their red and blue lights.
However, the Sheriff’s Office disputes that they did identify themselves and use their lights. They also claim that, while the brothers started with their hands up, they eventually shot at officers. The office also released an animated video with details of the incident as the officers remember it, including some video taken by helicopters that arrived late into the scene.
Nathalie Meza Contreras, one of the family’s lawyers, explains that the family is looking to accomplish “clarity and answers through the lawsuit.” Further, Contreras claims that there’s evidence that Kershawn had his hands up during the shooting, as well as no visible signs of any weapon.
JW also claims that the officers stopped the brothers maliciously, “If they shot off four times, [yelled] ‘hands, hands, hands’ and immediately started shooting, that’s an assassination. They’re intending to shoot to kill.” Kershawn’s family also disputes the accuracy of the animated video, claiming that this doesn’t match up with witness accounts.
Tanya Faison, releasing a statement associated with Black Lives Matter Sacramento, declared “Nothing justifies killing him. He should have had his day in court if he broke a law. That’s what our system is set up to do.”
Since the incident, the Geigers have been claiming a number of civil rights violations and seeking out the $100M in damages in a trial by jury.
Note for clarity: Much of Kershawn Geyger’s family members spell their last name “Geiger.”
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