Family of Tyrese West, man shot and killed by Mount Pleasant police, files wrongful death lawsuit

NOW: Family of Tyrese West, man shot and killed by Mount Pleasant police, files wrongful death lawsuit

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The family of Tyrese West, an 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a Mount Pleasant police officer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Village of Mount Pleasant and the officer involved. 

West was shot by Mount Pleasant Police Sergeant Eric Giese on June 15. Police said West was riding his bike around 1:30 a.m., when Sergeant Giese confronted him and he took off. Police chased him and officers noticed West was armed. Deadly force was the last option, District Attorney Patricia Hanson said. 

Tyrese West's mother was holding back tears whiletalking about the pain their family has gone through since he was shot to death. The West family is asking for compensation for wrongful death and excessive force used by Sergeant Giese. They say West's death has caused the family pain and suffering.

"My son wasn't here for thanksgiving, my son is not here for Christmas, his birthday is coming up on the 29th, and he's gone," said Monique West, Tyrese West's mother. 

In September, Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson decided against charging Sergeant Giese with West's death because Giese was acting under self defense.

Gregory Kulis, a civil rights lawyer who represents the West family says when he looked at Hanson's report, it didn’t make sense.

Kulis says Sergeant Eric Giese tried to run Tyrese West off the road with a squad car, and the teen's reaction was appropriate.

"Tyrese did what every young man would do, he fled because he was afraid, he was afraid of a police officer who was possibly gonna kill him with a squad car," said Gregory Kulis, an attorney for Tyrese West's family. 

Police body cam video used as evidence show Sergeant Giese telling other officers West would not listen to commands, and he warned West he would shoot. Giese says West had a gun, and he was afraid West would reach for it. 

Sergeant Giese described the shooting as the most intense and stressful situation of his life.

Kulis argues there was no reason to kill West because he did not point a gun or shoot at Sergeant Giese. Even with no gun pointed at him, Giese still shot west, which included two shots to head while West was on his hands and knees.

"Why would you just shoot a man on all fours and execute him on the street?" said Kulis. "There's no explanation for that."

"I don’t understand how could you do that to a kid, he didn’t do no harm, no nothing,” said Monique West. 

Kulis says he hopes the lawsuit will finally give the public some answers.

"They're gonna have to answer in court and to the public as to what occurred," said Kulis. 

The Village of Mount Pleasant says they're not commenting at this time. Attorneys for the West family say they expect a written response from the village in a month or so. 

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