Kalamazoo Public Safety officer sued for excessive force, civil rights violations

Posted at 5:40 PM, Dec 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-12 17:40:16-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Sean Gordon is being sued for excessive force and civil rights violations in the fatal January 2013 shooting of Jacob Grassley.

Grassley, 34, was shot and killed Jan. 24 at the Best Western, 3640 East Cork St.

According to federal court documents, the lawsuit was filed Dec. 11 by James Wilson Smith, the representative of Grassley’s estate.

The suit alleges that Gordon shot Grassley in the back with an M4 rifle two times.  On the night of the shooting, police said Grassley was involved in a domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend.

Officials said they believed he was armed after his girlfriend said he took guns from the home during the incident.

When police located him, he led them on a chase to the Best Western, where they had placed his girlfriend after the domestic incident.

He was unarmed when he was shot and killed inside the hotel.   The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office ruled that the shooting was justified, saying Gordon “had every reason to believe he [Grassley] was armed with multiple weapons.”

“[Grassley] had not said anything to, or in the presence of, defendant [Gordon] prior to being fatally shot by defendant,” the lawsuit says.

Grassley’s estate is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.