MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The University of South Alabama and its police chief want a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the parents of a nude student who was shot to death by a campus police officer.
Both the school and university police chief Zeke Aull argued in court documents that they are immune from being sued under state law in the October death of freshman Gil Collar, 18, of Wetumpka.
His parentsfiled the suit over the killing last month. They are seeking an unspecified amount of money and a court order requiring the school to arm its officers with stun guns.
Aside from arguing he can’t be held liable for Collar’s death, Aull also asked a judge to refuse the demand to arm all school officers with the weapons, which are used to shock suspects into submission.
Aull argued such an order is both outside the power of a court and would affect state budgets since the weapons can cost more than $1,000 apiece and the arming cartridges costs hundreds of dollars each.
Besides, Aull said, stun guns aren’t a guarantee against fatal police confrontations.
“It has been well-reported that suspects have been seriously injured and/or died from the proper use of (stun guns), so they are not without dangers,” his attorney wrote in a motion.
A judge has scheduled a hearing on the dismissal requests for Feb. 8 in Mobile.
Collar’s parents also sued the officer identified by the university as firing the fatal shot, Trevis Austin, but he has not filed a response.
Authorities have said Collar, who wrestled in high school, banged on a door and windows of the university police station in the dark, prompting the officer to come outside with his gun drawn.
Collar, who was nude and believed to be on some sort of drug, acted aggressively toward the officer and stood in a fighting stance before he was shot. Mobile County investigators said Collar never touched the officer or got any closer to him than a few feet.
The district attorney’s office said it would investigate the shooting and ask grand jurors to consider whether to file charges, but the case hasn’t gotten that far yet.
“It just takes time to get all the information together to present it,” Deborah Tillman, the chief assistant district attorney, said Monday.
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