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Family of Unarmed Man Killed by Police Sues City, NOPD
For the second time in a week, the New Orleans Police Department and the City are facing a federal lawsuit over the killing of a citizen by a police officer. The family of Wendell Allen, who was killed by an officer while standing unarmed and shirtless in his mother's Gentilly home on March 7, 2012, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit this week against the NOPD, the City and the officer who shot the 20-year-old.
Allen was shot to death while police were serving a search warrant on his mother's Prentiss St. home in connection with reports of the house being connected to marijuana dealing.
Police broke into the house, where five children under the age of 18 were present. The officers pointed the guns in the kids' faces, and told them to back up, raise their hands and face the wall. Allen, who was resting in his brother's room on the second story of the home, then came to the stairs to see what the commotion was about. Once he was at the top of the stairs, Officer Colclough fatally shot Allen with a single bullet to the chest.
Allen's brother Davin Allen and and 19-year-old Brandon Boles were arrested after Allen was killed. Outside the home, officers later arrested the target of the investigation, Troy Deemer, and booked him on drug possession charges.
In August, Colclough was indicted for manslaughter in connection with the case. The suit alleges Wendell Allen was never tied to marijuana crimes.
Wendell Allen's death is described as "senseless" and a "horrible tragedy" in court papers. In the suit, Wendell Allen is described as a former basketball star at Frederick Douglass High School, and an "energetic, positive, outgoing young person." Allen took a job with Richard's Disposal after attending Navarro College in Texas for a short time after graduation.
The suit alleges authorities haven't been forthcoming with information about Allen's death, and failed to properly train Colclough for such situations. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the family, survivor's damages for Wendell Allen's mother Natasha Allen, as well as damages for the children. The suit also seeks injunctive relief in the form of ballistic, medical and forensic evidence related to the case. The material was shown to the Grand Jury that indicted Colclough, the suit states.
The week stretch of lawsuits in the deaths of Justin Sipp and Wendell Allen mimic the seven-day period around the same time in 2012 that saw the two men killed. Last week, Justin Sipp's family filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging wrongful death in the Mid-City traffic stop that turned deadly on March 1, 2012.
The NOPD does not comment on pending litigation.
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