The family of a woman shot to death last year by Gardner police filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday in federal court.
Officers fatally shot Deanne Choate, 53, on March 26, 2015, after being called to a reported disturbance at a home in the 400 block of North Birch Street.
The Johnson County district attorney’s office previously ruled that officers were legally justified in shooting Choate after she refused their demands to drop a gun.
According to the suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, police were dispatched after receiving a 911 call informing them that Choate was under the influence of alcohol, had a gun and possibly was suicidal.
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When officers arrived, Choate’s boyfriend opened the door. Officers handcuffed him and took him out of the house, according to the lawsuit.
The officers went to a bedroom, where they found Choate asleep and naked.
“Deanne was obviously not carrying or concealing on her person any type of weapon,” according to the suit.
After she sat up, the officers repeatedly asked her where the gun was.
“Officers did not make any effort to restrain Deanne or remove her from the room,” according to the suit. But when Choate “produced” the gun and said, “Oh, here it is,” she was shot.
“Officers immediately shot and killed Deanne for complying with their request,” the suit says.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
A call seeking comment from the city administrator’s office was not immediately returned.