Family of man shot by officer sues city


The parents of a man who was shot and killed by a Texarkana, Texas Police officer in December of 2014 have filed suit in federal court against the city.

Dennis Grigsby Jr., 35, was killed by Texas-side officer Brent Lawing around 2 a.m. Dec. 15, 2014.

On December 15, 2014 at approximately 2:00am, Texarkana, Texas Police responded to a burglary in progress call where the suspect was inside the garage of a residence near the 2700 block of Page Street. The resident advised dispatch that the suspect was using some sort of tool to break out a window to gain entry in to the residence. Officer Brent Lawing arrived on scene and approached the residence’s garage, which had a large tarp covering the entry. When Lawing entered the garage he found the suspect inside. The suspect then came toward Lawing in an aggressive manner with a metal object in his hand. Lawing ordered the man to stop, but he continued toward the officer. Lawing fired one shot, which struck Grigsby in the chest.

The metal object Grigsby was holding was found to be a spoon.

A Bowie County Grand Jury found no probable cause to charge Officer Lawing with a crime in Oct. of 2015. Texas Rangers conducted an investigation clearing Lawing to return to work on March 23, 2015.

The suit accuses the city of not adequately training officers took no reasonable steps to adequately train officers on the appropriate use of force or supervise and monitor the excessive use of force by Texarkana police officers. “Including but not limited to how to approach dark areas, calling for back-up officers, assessing the risk of harm to himself and others, communicating with members of the public, communicating with black men, knowing the difference between a spoon and a knife, and how to avoid killing unarmed men with mental illnesses.”

The suit asks for an award of exemplary and punitive damages to serve as an example to others, and as a deterrent of future conduct.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Shroeder III.

Listen to the 9-1-1 call.

Listen to police radio traffic

View the complaint (.pdf)

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