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Federal Lawsuit Alleges ‘Reckless Indifference’ in Officer Shooting of 11-Year-Old

By Jerry Mitchell

Mississippi Today

Attorney Carlos Moore holds news conference Tuesday, May 30, 2023, outside his Grenada law office to announce the filing of a $5 million lawsuit against the city of Indianola, the police chief and Officer Greg Capers in the shooting of 11-year-old Aderrien Murry. Credit: Photo courtesy of Carlos Moore

A $5 million federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the city of Indianola, the police chief and Officer Greg Capers, just days after police shot an 11-year-old boy.

“There is no way a reasonably trained officer who would have done what Greg Capers did — to shoot an unarmed 11-year-old,” Carlos Moore said Tuesday at a news conference outside his Grenada office. Moore, the managing partner of The Cochran Firm in the Mississippi Delta, is representing the youth, Aderrien Murry, and his mother, Nakala. 

On May 20, she received an unexpected visit from “an irate father of one of her minor children,” according to the lawsuit. “(She) instructed her son to call the police, because she feared for her and the children’s safety.”

Capers responded and drew his gun, but “failed to assess the situation before displaying and-or discharging his firearm,” according to the lawsuit.

As a result, Aderrien, 11, was shot, resulting in a collapsed lung, lacerated liver and fractured ribs.

His mother said her son asked, “Why did he shoot me? “What did I do?” before he began crying.

Doctors intubated him when he arrived at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and put him on oxygen. They released him from the hospital four days later.

These injuries could have been avoided if Capers and other officers had received adequate training in this area. Instead, Capers acted with “deliberate indifference, reckless disregard and gross negligence,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit also accuses the officer of acting with malice, saying the “ulterior purpose in misusing the legal process was to severely harm Plaintiffs while not executing their lawful duties to actually serve and protect Plaintiffs and other similarly situated individuals.” 

City officials have not responded to the lawsuit, which represents only one side of a legal argument. 

At the news conference Tuesday, Murry’s mother, Nakala, said whenever she closes her eyes, the scene flashes back — holding her son and applying pressure to his wound, only to see blood running from his mouth.

She called for a halt on the shootings of the sons of so many mothers. “We’re a voice for everybody,” she said, “because something needs to be done.”

Capers was named Policeman of the Year in 2021, according to the Enterprise-Tocsin. He is now on administrative leave with pay. 

“If he’s your best, you need a clean house from top to bottom,” Moore said. “If that’s your best, I would hate to see the worst.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now conducting a probe into the shooting. 

Murry’s family is calling for the arrest of the officer on aggravated assault charges and for firing both the officer and chief of police, Moore said. “Give this family some justice and some peace.”

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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