HILLSDALE, Mich. (AP) — The family of a man who was fatally shot by a Michigan sheriff's deputy after the officer killed his dog has filed a lawsuit claiming excessive force and other violations.
"The sheriff and the deputy will be held accountable for the 'shoot first and ask questions later' decision-making that cost Oscar Herrera his life," attorney Ian Fallon said Thursday.
Herrera, 32, was killed in April outside his home in Hillsdale County's Reading Township. State police said he confronted Deputy Adam Burlew with a knife.
Moments earlier, Burlew had fatally shot Herrera's dog, Rico, while responding to a call about an aggressive dog roaming around.
Rico was inside the house when the deputy arrived but suddenly darted through the door when Herrera opened it, according to the lawsuit.
Burlew told Herrera that he shot the dog in response to being bitten.
Herrera was very upset, according to body-cam video obtained by lawyers for the family, telling the deputy that he had killed his "best friend."
While standing over Rico, 20 feet away, Herrera took two steps towards Burlew. The deputy then fired his gun, according to the lawsuit.
A paramedic later found a folding knife in a closed position on the ground, though the knife was open with the blade sticking out when state police recovered it, the lawsuit states.
The sheriff's department declined to comment on the lawsuit. Herrera's family lives in the Chicago area.
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