A wrongful death lawsuit brought in federal court on behalf of the 4-year-old son of a Pinole man shot and killed by police is set for trial in 2014. Meanwhile, police contend the dead man was responsible for actions that led to his shooting.
The suit -- on behalf of Mickey Ray Reyes, Jr., whose father, Mickey Ray Welch, 20, was hit with a police baton, shot with a stun gun and shot and killed on Pinole Valley Road -- names two Pinole police officers, a sergeant and the city as defendants.
The incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on May 28, 2010, on the sidewalk in front of 1035 Pinole Valley Road.
Police officers Zack Blume and Chris Fodor are being sued for Welch's death; they opened fire when they saw him reach into his waistband for a black object that turned out to be a cell phone, according to published reports.
Tim Cauwels, also being sued, was their sergeant and he allegedly used a stun gun on Welch at some point during the encounter.
The plaintiff -- the suit was brought on the boy's behalf by his mother, Linda Servin -- is suing for unspecified damages: compensatory, general and punitive, all to be determined by a jury.
According to the lawsuit, Welch "was not armed and did not pose an imminent threat to the officers."
The suit alleges that the police officers used excessive and unreasonable force, contributing to Welch's death.
Though the Feb. 24, 2014, date for trial has not changed, attorneys for both sides have stipulated an extension of dates for the producing of discovery evidence and deadlines for disclosure of expert witness lists.
All discovery should be in the court by Sept. 6 of this year.
The lawsuit alleges that Welch's civil rights were violated because he was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
The plaintiff also contends that the officers had inadequate training and supervision in the use of force.
The plaintiff alleges that the toddler's civil rights have been violated, because the officers -- under the umbrella of the city -- deprived the boy of his relationship with his father.
In an answer to the complaint, attorneys for the officers and the city contend that the peace officers believed they were in imminent danger of their lives and that Welch was negligent in reaching for his waistband.
"The decedent had full knowledge of all the risks, dangers and hazards ...and nevertheless voluntarily and with full appreciation of the amount of danger involved in his actions ... assumed the risk of injuries and damages to himself," reads the court document.
According to published reports, Welch refused to show police his hands.
The defendants' attorneys also contend that the officers are immune from liability because they were acting in the line of duty.
Defendants also argue that "the decedent's unclean hands preclude any recovery by plaintiff."
Officers stopped Welch in the street because they believed he had taken part in an earlier shooting.
Welch was a gang member on probation for a drug conviction and therefore subject to arbitrary search and seizure, under state law.
The defendants have also asked for plaintiffs to provide juvenile police records for Welch, for the purposes of this case only.
Attorneys for the defense said they believe that showing Welch as a delinquent as far back as 2004 will help the defense.
The police reports may help lawyers find admissible evidence in the case, the court documents state.
In the meantime, both parties have agreed to try mediation in the case.