Thu, Jan 3, 2013
According to The Advertiser, the parents of a Carencro man shot and killed by a Lafayette police officer Dec. 9, 2011, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Lafayette, Police Chief Jim Craft and the officer who shot him.
The lawsuit was filed Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court in Lafayette by Brenda Mason of Carencro and Billy Mason of Oklahoma on behalf of their son, Quamaine Dwayne Mason, who was 21 years old when he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Louisiana State Police investigated the shooting and turned its findings over to the Lafayette Police Department. The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Advertiser, did not reach a formal conclusion as to whether the shooting was justified.
The officer, identified in the report and in the lawsuit as Cpl. Martin Faul, was placed on administrative leave for a short time but is back at work. A Lafayette Parish grand jury on July 18 declined to indict him in the shooting.
In the lawsuit, the Masons allege that Faul unlawfully shot and killed their son and used excessive and unreasonable force. The lawsuit further alleges Mason was not provided medical attention and the department failed to provide proper supervision or training to prevent use of excessive force.
In addition, the Masons claim police did not adequately communicate with their son before using deadly force against him, failed to follow police standards before using deadly force and wrongly characterized the incident when sending officers to the scene.
Mason had hoped to become a police officer and was studying criminal justice at the University of Phoenix, the family told The Daily Advertiser.
According to the state police investigation based on evidence and interviews with those involved, a police officer was dispatched to the Campus Crossing Apartments in the 200 block of Theatre Drive after a report that an angry, armed man had burst into an apartment.
The first officer dispatched to the scene said he was told there was an armed robbery in progress, according to the report by Trooper Frank Garcia, who conducted the state investigation.
According to the report, Mason was dating Rochelle Babino, who lived in the apartment with several other women, two of whom were present the night of the shooting.
Babino was cooking dinner for her ex-boyfriend, Paul Pickens, and his cousin, Jeremy Richardson, to celebrate Pickens’ college graduation. Mason showed up at the apartment and was denied entry. He became angry, banging on the door and yelling that he knew Babino was inside with someone and demanding his dog, according to the report.
When Babino’s roommates opened the door to give Mason his dog, he pushed his way inside and proceeded to Babino’s bedroom. The door was locked so he banged on it, yelling, cursing and threatening, according to witnesses.
Mason gained entry into the bedroom, holding a gun, and continued threatening Babino and the two men who were with her.
Richardson called 911 from his cell phone, which recorded the conversation.
A copy of the 911 call was obtained by The Daily Advertiser. Loud screaming and cursing can be heard for several minutes before Richardson and Pickens left the apartment.
Richardson told the 911 operator that Mason “bust “» into my cousin’s girlfriend room. He has a gun with him. He wanted his dog. He has a gun with him!” He also provided police with a description of Mason as well as what he was wearing.
According to the report, the two men left, and Babino tried to calm Mason down. He returned the gun to his waistband, and Babino suggested they go outside to search for his dog, which escaped the apartment during the incident.
Babino told Garcia that they immediately saw police officers outside the apartment with their guns drawn and that she positioned herself between Mason and the police officers, yelling for them to leave him alone.
She said Mason reached for his gun to put it on the ground. Faul had a police dog with him, and the dog pulled at his leash, she said. Faul then yelled, ‘He has a gun,” and began to fire.
Cpl. Joel Grayson, who was present during the shooting, said Mason lowered his right hand to pull the gun from his waistband. Faul started shooting and released the dog, he said in a statement to the investigator.
The officers present at the time, interviewed later and separately, all said they saw Mason’s gun and saw him drop his right hand “in an apparent attempt to grab something,” Garcia wrote in his report.
There was some disagreement over where the gun was once Mason fell to the ground, however. Cpl. Bart Ryder said he had to pry Mason’s fingers from the gun. Officer Jace Galland said the gun was under Mason’s body and his hand was not on it.
Faul told Garcia that he believed Mason, in reaching for the gun, was going to shoot either Babino or the police officer. That’s when he began shooting, he said. Mason stumbled against the wall and the police dog attacked him, pulling him down, he said.
Faul said Mason’s right hand was still near the gun. He said he shot him twice more after he saw Mason raise his right elbow and turn toward him.
A police officer and two civilian medics who lived nearby attempted to treat Mason, who had no signs of life by the time Acadian Ambulance arrived, Garcia wrote.
The coroner’s report showed Mason was struck with seven copper-jacketed bullets. He had single wounds in the chin, right shoulder, lower back and each arm, and was shot twice in the upper back. He also suffered dog bites to the left hip and abdomen. The coroner said he had THC, which is found in marijuana, in his blood and urine.