A Mississippi woman who was shot in the arm by a police officer while lying in bed filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Capitol Police on Tuesday.
Latasha Smith said that she was shot by an officer on Dec. 11 while she was lying in bed at her apartment with her daughter being only a few feet away.
The incident reportedly started because Capitol Police attempted to pull over a suspected stolen car in Jackson, Mississippi, but the suspects led officers on a chase that ended in Smith’s apartment complex, according to a lawusit obtained by Atlanta Black Star.
The three suspects abandoned the alleged stolen vehicle and ran in different directions. The two suspects on the driver’s side ran through the courtyard of the apartment complex, which is in the opposite direction of Smith’s apartment building. The third suspect ran on a grassy path behind apartment buildings in a direction toward Smith’s building.
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The officer allegedly got out of his police vehicle and attempted to chase the suspect that ran toward Smith’s building, but took a few steps and fired his weapon at the suspect. Smith said that two bullets hit the outside wall of her apartment and the third went through the window of her 13-year-old daughter’s room.
The bullet that went through the window, passed through her daughter’s room and ricocheted off a wall and hit Smith in the arm, according to a report obtained by NBC News. Her daughter was not hit and the Capitol Police initially reported that no one was harmed during the shooting.
After Smith was shot, she ran out of the apartment screaming she had been shot and spotted a Mississippi Capitol Police officer walking through the complex.
“I didn’t deserve to get shot. I’m human just like that man,” Smith said to NBC News, referring to the officer. “What would he say if that was his mother? How would he feel?”
Smith, 49, says that the bullet still remains lodged in her arm and the shooting has left her unable to work for months. She also stated that it has traumatized her and her daughter.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Mississippi. It accused Capitol Police agency commanders and officers of acting recklessly, using excessive force, and unreasonable force against Smith.
“Why not make them pay for what they did to me? I could have lost my life, and my daughter could have lost hers,” Smith said to NBC News.
Smith’s attorneys accused Capitol Police officers of violating Smith’s civil rights by “discharging their firearms into a crowded and occupied dwelling with no regard for human life,” according to NBC News. They also cited in the lawsuit that the shooting was a result of poor officer training and placed the lives of the families at risk living in the apartment complex when he fired the shots.
The officer that fired the shots was reportedly placed on administrative leave after the shooting but has returned to active duty, according to Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell.
Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey reportedly reviewed the findings of an internal investigation that was conducted and determined there wasn’t any criminal misconduct to keep the officer on leave.
The officer’s name hasn’t been released, and the agency has provided little information about the investigation that was conducted.
Capitol Police officers are not all equipped with body cameras but a spokeswoman for the department said this officer was wearing one. However, that footage has not been released to the public.
According to NBC News, Smith’s shooting was the fourth that took place since Capitol Police started patrolling the city of Jackson last summer. Supporters of increasing Capitol Police presence says the extra police are needed to help the understaffed Jackson Police Department.
The extra police presence also reportedly includes an aggressive street unit that focuses on enforcing the traffic laws, car thefts, and illegal drugs.
Smith is hoping that her lawsuit would force the Mississippi Capitol Police to change its policies and training on officers discharging weapons near people’s homes.