Darnell Wicker was shot and killed by Louisville police in 2016. At the time, he was shot within seconds of the authorities asking him to drop his weapon. Nearly six years later, his family has reached a settlement with the city in the amount of $1.25 million, The Courier Journal reports.
Just one month after their father died, Danielle Cleveland and Dominique Wicker filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit named Officers Taylor Banks and Beau Gadegaard as well as Police Chief Steve Conrad and other officers as defendants in the case.
Although an attorney representing Wicker’s daughters said that “They are feeling some relief,” money could never replace their father.
“This case though, is a much bigger deal than money, said the attorney, Al Gerhardstein.
Officers were called to Broadleaf Arms Apartments located in the southwestern region of Louisville after the daughter of Wicker’s girlfriend told dispatchers that he had broken into her mother’s apartment while holding a knife.
According to body camera footage released by LMPD, Wicker was holding a tree saw near the door of an apartment when he was approached by Banks and Gadegaard. A third officer, Brian Smith, also confronted Wicker, however, he did not shoot his gun.
The footage shows that shots were fired at Wicker within seconds of officers asking him to “drop” his weapon.
“Wicker had less than two seconds prior to being shot to determine that he was being confronted by law enforcement, as the officers never announced themselves and did not have their lights activated on their cruisers at the scene of the shooting,” said the suit.
Per the court documents, Wicker, an Army veteran, was deaf in one ear and could partially hear in the other. He was active in the service for 17 years.
During their testimonies Officers Banks and Gadegaard claim that the victim “looked tense” and “like he wanted to kill” them as he exited the apartment. An expert hired to analyze the video for Wicker’s daughters suggest that this was not the case.
The case also established that “even if the suspect has some sort of weapon, if you have an opportunity, you have to de-escalate.”
According to the attorney, Wicker was “loved by many people in the community” and that his daughters didn’t want “his memory to fade away.”