The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Family of shooting victim on SE Campus files suit

By Kenney Kost/editor–in–chief

Georgia Phillips/The Collegian  An unnamed TCC police officer on scene at SE Campus said the actions of Grand Prairie police officer Wesley Bement were not necessary and she nearly was shot when Bement fired four rounds killing Jordan Hatcher.
Georgia Phillips/The Collegian An unnamed TCC police officer on scene at SE Campus said the actions of Grand Prairie police officer Wesley Bement were not necessary and she nearly was shot when Bement fired four rounds killing Jordan Hatcher.

More than a year after 22-year-old theft suspect Jordan Hatcher was killed by a Grand Prairie police officer on SE Campus, Hatcher’s family has filed a lawsuit against both the City of Grand Prairie and the officer responsible for the shooting.

According to the complaint, filed by Hatcher’s father, Jeff Hatcher, and mother, Michelle Hansford, Grand Prairie police officer Wesley Bement had no reason to use deadly force on Hatcher. The family also claims the use of a Taser against him was unnecessary.

The night of the shooting, Arlington police said an unarmed Hatcher fought with Grand Prairie and Arlington police, both at the Target where the original theft call was placed, and on SE Campus where Hatcher fled. TCC police were called to assist, and all three police departments were waiting when Hatcher was seen walking across the back parking lot of SE Campus.

Arlington police said Hatcher struggled with several police officers and was pepper-sprayed and shot with a stun gun but continued to struggle and grabbed an officer’s Taser. This prompted Bement to shoot Hatcher in fear for his life and the lives of the other officers on scene.

The complaint tells the story differently.

The complaint said an unarmed Hatcher was surrounded by at least five TCC officers equipped with firearms, mace and batons, and trained on how and when to use varying degrees of force.

Rather than taking advantage of the five officers and physically taking Hatcher into custody, Bement attempted to shoot Hatcher with his Taser. After missing with the Taser, Bement attempted to shock Hatcher under his arm directly with the Taser.

At the same time, two TCC police officers pepper-sprayed Hatcher in the face and continued until his eyes, mouth and nose were covered. While Hatcher was being sprayed, Bement retreated, leaving the Taser lodged under Hatcher’s arm.

According to a statement in the complaint made by an unnamed TCC police officer, the use of pepper spray and the Taser was effective, and Hatcher began to walk away slowly rubbing his face and trying to get the Taser from under his arm. Without warning, while the TCC police officer closest to Hatcher was about to spray Hatcher again and subdue him, Bement drew his gun and fired four times into the body of Hatcher until he was dead.

The TCC officer said in the complaint she was nearly shot when Bement began firing with no prior warning. She said she did not have her gun drawn, was not being attacked and did not understand why Bement was shooting as Hatcher was rubbing his eyes and face while holding Bement’s unloaded Taser, and did not pose an immediate threat to any officers on the scene.

The family is suing Bement on the basis that “it would have been obvious to a reasonable officer that the conduct of Bement was excessive, unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful and that Bement’s actions violated clearly established constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable and excessive force,” according to the complaint.

Hatcher’s family is suing the City of Grand Prairie as well on grounds of gross negligence and consciously indifferent conduct. The complaint claims that the city failed to properly train and supervise its officer concerning the use of the Taser and the use of deadly force. The complaint said the city’s grossly negligent and indifferent nature is established by the numerous complaints of police misconduct and lawsuits against the City of Grand Prairie involving the use of force.

Hatcher’s family is attempting to collect past medical expenses, past and future compensatory damage, pain and suffering, lost wages and funeral expenses among other items.

Grand Prairie city attorney Don Postell said he did not have enough information to comment.

“We have not received a copy of the complaint, so I cannot comment at this time,” Postell said.

The attorney for Hatcher’s family, Darren Wolf, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

 

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