Family of Ty'Rese West files federal civil rights lawsuit against Eric Giese, Mount Pleasant
RACINE COUNTY -- The family of Ty'Rese West, the 18-year-old man shot and killed by Mount Pleasant Police Sgt. Eric Giese on June 15, filed on Tuesday, Dec. 17 a federal civil rights lawsuit against Giese and the Village of Mount Pleasant.
West's family was joined by civil rights attorneys and community members at the Racine Police Department, where the lawsuit was announced.
The announcement came just over six months after West was shot and killed by Giese, who was attempting to stop West for riding a bicycle without a headlight.
"This man took my son from me. My son wasn't here for Thanksgiving, not here for Christmas... he gone," said Monique West, Ty'Rese West's mother. "I want justice for my son -- that's all I want is justice for my baby."
In September, Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson announced no charges would be filed against Giese. DA Hanson determined that "Sergeant Giese's actions, in this case, fall under the privilege of self-defense," and as such, "no charges will be filed against Sergeant Giese in this case," Racine police, who led this investigation, said in a statement.
Hanson laid out the events and evidence from June 15 in a 23-page report, explaining why she came to the decision she did.
In announcing the lawsuit Tuesday, West's family alleged excessive force and wrongful death.
On June 15, just after 1:30 a.m., near 24th Street and Racine Street, West was shot and killed by Mount Pleasant Police Sergeant Eric Giese.
Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Justice said Giese was attempting to stop West, who was on a bicycle. Giese pursued West on foot, and observed he was armed with a gun.
"Ty'Rese landed up dead with bullets in his head for no reason," said Gregory Kulis, civil rights attorney. "This report doesn't make sense. There's no evidence the gun ever was in Ty'Rese's hands."
The DOJ said various non-lethal methods were used unsuccessfully by Sgt. Giese in “an attempt to address the threat,” including verbal commands and the deployment of electronic control devices. Lethal force was subsequently deployed. Life-saving measures were rendered, but were unsuccessful. A handgun was recovered at the scene, the DOJ said.
Giese was wearing a body camera on his chest when he fatally shot West -- but he failed to activate it, Hanson said in the report. It was not working during any portion of the incident -- and Mount Pleasant PD policy does not require it to be activated for every encounter.
Hanson said she ultimately decided the deadly use of force was justified, saying the case fell "under self-defense," noting West had a gun and "continued to reach for the weapon," despite commands not to. Photos of the gun were released, along with other evidence in Hanson's report. She called Giese's decision to shoot "legal and ethical."