Family of man shot 8 times by Raleigh police sues officer, chief, and the city

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Soheil Mojarrad’s family has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Raleigh, the Raleigh Police Chief and the officer who shot and killed the 30-year-old.

An autopsy obtained by CBS 17 shows Mojarrad was shot eight times by a Raleigh police officer during an encounter on April 20, 2019.

Since Mojarrad’s death, the family says they have taken steps to obtain justice.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday.

“We don’t believe it’s okay for someone to be gunned down over a trespass call,” Siavash Mojarrad, Soheil’s brother said.

The complaint details inadequate and even dangerous practices at the Raleigh Police Department that led to the “foreseeable, and tragically preventable, death of Soheil.”

“Every citizen should not be afraid of the police — they’re supposed to be part of our community and help us. They’re not supposed to be pushing us down and killing us,” Judy Mojarrad, Soheil’s mother said.

The complaint alleges inappropriate policy and inadequate training that encouraged officers to unnecessarily use deadly force. The complaint also states the Raleigh Police Department has an inadequate body camera policy and failures to discipline officers, both of which permitted rampant unaccountability for officers in the use-of-force scenarios.

Mojarrad was shot by Edwards during an encounter off New Bern Avenue.

Edwards reported Mojarrad was armed with a knife and taking an aggressive stance when shots were fired.

Mojarrad suffered wounds to his chest, torso, pelvis, buttocks and thigh.

Several organs were struck by bullets, including his heart, the autopsy states.

The officer’s body camera was not activated during the encounter.

Mojarrad’s family spoke to CBS 17 after the lawsuit was filed.

“We really need to rethink how we’re treating each other and we really need to re-think what kind of policies we have in place. What kind of policies we’re holding when we’re not truly protecting folks,” Sivash said.

Attorneys who represent the family also spoke about the case.

“Officer Edwards could have taken any number of actions to keep both himself and Soheil safe. Instead, he went straight to his gun. It’s evident he was not properly trained on the appropriate use of force and deadly force; if he had been, Soheil would be alive today,” said Cate Edwards, of Edwards Kirby law firm representing the Mojarrad family. “We have to put an end to these completely unjustified and preventable officer-involved shootings. Soheil’s family is determined to hold those that could have prevented his death accountable, so this doesn’t happen to other families.”

“We hope that Soheil’s case can help shed light on the need for real change at the Raleigh Police Department and police departments everywhere. There must be accountability for officers who abuse their power and use excessive force tactics, like unnecessarily shooting citizens.  Training is needed for officers to better handle situations involving mental health residents, and there must be policies that demand people of color be treated with respect and care by law enforcement. My brother was a good person, and he would have wanted to see these changes. Our family is seeking justice today for Soheil,” said Siavash Mojarrad, brother of Soheil Mojarrad.Siavash and his mother, Judy have both attended recent protests, calling for change within local police departments.
They attended a vigil for families who’ve lost loved ones at the hands of police at Moore Square Tuesday night.

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