Las Vegas, NV — The Las Vegas Police Department is in the news again—for killing a citizen—again. This time, their victim was a mentally ill 44-year-old man holding a plastic toy sword that he had made himself. Because officer Buford Kenton and Cameron Gunn, the family of the victim has filed a lawsuit to seek civil action.
According to 8 News Now, the lawsuit, filed by the law offices of Peter Goldstein Law Corp. on behalf of Napouk’s parents, Gerald Elmer Napouk and Mary Napouk, and his estate, alleges nine complaints for damages and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The lawsuit alleges excessive force, deprivation of familial relations, municipal liability, failure to train, ratification, battery/wrongful death, negligence/wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Americans with Disability Act.
According to police, the incident unfolded on Oct. 27, 2018, when they received a 911 call from a resident who became fearful of Lloyd Napouk after witnessing him walking through the neighborhood holding the toy.
“We have information in talking with the folks related to him that he had made this device. He called it a sword. He was very proud of it,” Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank said at a press conference. “He really looked at it as being very special to him.”
Napouk was killed by police just after midnight. Metro Sgt. Kenton, 36, and officer Gunn, 29, initiated a five-minute long stand off and then killed the man—for holding the toy sword.
As the video shows, Napouk ignores several commands to drop the object.
One of the possible reasons Napouk did not comply was the fact that he was wearing headphones and possibly couldn't hear anything the officers were saying. The sergeant then radios in, “Let’s get a unit with a beanbag shotgun. And can we have K-9 out here and have medical stand by? Call for medical.”
Sadly, however, the officers would not wait for less than lethal options and their fear of a piece of plastic would cause them to kill a man who was in obvious need of mental health help.
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“Dude, just drop it,” Kenton yells in the video, as he points his Glock 19 at the man holding a toy sword, as he paces in front of a house. The officers were safely positioned behind a cruiser as they told Napouk to drop the sword. At no time were they ever in any danger.
“It’s not worth it, man,” says Kenton.
At one point, Napouk can be heard in the footage saying, “Get out of here.”
“I’m going to shoot you,” Kenton yells. “If you come one more step, you’re dead.”
Moments later, Kenton made good on his promise and killed the man holding a 22-inch long piece of plastic.
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported at the time:
Kenton fired four rounds about 9 feet away from Napouk, and Gunn fired three from about 11 feet away, Hank said.
Napouk died of multiple gunshot wounds, and his death was ruled a homicide by the Clark County coroner’s office.
The suspect’s intentions in the neighborhood were not clear, Hank said. Napouk lived with his girlfriend about a mile away from where he was killed, and he arrived at Tinker Toy Avenue on his bike, Hank said.
Had he survived, Napouk would have faced a charge of resisting a public officer with a deadly weapon, according to Hank. Napouk did not have a criminal history in Clark County, but had prior charges in Alaska and Washington, including DUI, assault, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, Hank said.
According to 8 News, the lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, including both survival damages and wrongful death damages. Lawyers are asking for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, punitive damages against the two officers, interest, court costs, attorney fees and further relief as the court may deem just.