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The parents of a Kamas man fatally shot by South Jordan police say their son was unarmed and allege that an officer altered the scene to make it look like he had been threatened.
Garry and Judy Pennington have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking $1 million in damages in the death of their son, 41-year-old Wade Pennington.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller, one of the defendants in the case, said the claims are frivolous and the family and attorney should be sanctioned, court documents state.
Defendants in the civil lawsuit, which was filed earlier this year, also include Salt Lake County, South Jordan and West Jordan cities and police departments, and the police officers who were involved in the shooting.
The defendants could not comment because the case is in litigation but they have denied the allegations in court documents.
Late last month, Miller, the City of West Jordan and police filed motions asking U.S. District Judge Dee Benson to dismiss the suit. Those requests are pending.
The suit claims that the defendants violated Pennington’s constitutional rights, that the officers involved used excessive and unreasonable force in searching and seizing Pennington — resulting in his death, and that they failed to investigate the case adequately.
The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office ruled that South Jordan police Officer Jared Nichols was justified in shooting and killing Pennington on May 28, 2009.
Police reports say Nichols shot Pennington twice after he led police on a chase. Nichols eventually was able to pin Pennington’s SUV into a cul-de-sac, where Pennington continued revving his engine and trying to flee, the report states.
The shooting was also reviewed by the South Jordan City Attorney’s Office and the South Jordan Police Department. They, too, found that Nichols acted according to police department policy.
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