Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by Chris Beaty's mother over city's role in 2020 protests

  • In US
  • 2023-02-08 20:48:57Z
  • By IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star

The mother of a former Indiana University football player who was shot and killed during the 2020 protests and riots in downtown Indianapolis has lost her federal lawsuit against the city.

Debra Cooper sued the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Mayor Joe Hogsett and the city in May of last year - just a few weeks shy of the 2-year anniversary of the death of her son, Chris Beaty. Beaty was fatally shot May 30, 2020 on North Talbott Street while making sure the area near his apartment was safe, according to Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears.

A glimmer dimmed: Shooting during downtown violence kills Chris Beaty, 'Mr. Indianapolis'

Cooper's legal team argued police and the city were responsible for his death because they failed to prepare for the intensity of the protests and riots, and failed to make sure violence didn't spread elsewhere in the area. But Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wasn't persuaded by their claims.

IndyStar has reached out to Cooper's attorneys for comment.

In a dismissal order issued Tuesday, Pratt wrote that one of the arguments Cooper's lawsuit relied on - that the state helped create the danger - is typically granted under what the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals called "rare and often egregious" instances, like in a case out of Illinois from the 1970s where police arrested a man on the side of the highway and left his young nephews behind in the car.

More:Mother of 'Mr. Indianapolis' sues city, police for not preventing son's shooting death

She said the arguments Cooper presented didn't rise to the level of showing that police or the city "acted to create or enhance a danger Beaty otherwise would not have faced."

Pratt also said the plaintiff failed to prove law enforcement and the city played a role in the "proximate cause" of Beaty's death.

'Highly upsetting': Report says IMPD was unprepared in George Floyd, Dreasjon Reed protests

"Apart from the crime occurring in the same region of the city and around the time the protests ended, there is no factual allegation that supports a finding that the protests and Beaty's murder are connected - let alone that the crime was somehow caused by the defendants," Pratt wrote.

Three people - Marcus Jayon Anderson, Alijah Jones and Nakeyah Shields - have been charged in connection with Beaty's death. Police say they were involved in multiple robberies where the protests devolved into riots in some areas of downtown.

Both of Cooper's claims - that the city violated Beaty's constitutional rights, and that it contributed to his wrongful death - were dismissed, but the wrongful death claim was dismissed "without prejudice," meaning she can still sue for that claim.

Call IndyStar courts reporter Johnny Magdaleno at 317-273-3188 or email him at jmagdaleno@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter @IndyStarJohnny

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by Chris Beaty's mother against city


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