By Austin Nolen
On Wednesday, Brandon Tate-Brown’s mother filed a new lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia, as well as Nicholas Carrelli and Heng Dang, the two officers involved in Tate-Brown’s shooting. The new case, filed in federal court in Philadelphia, adds several allegations that police officers violated Tate-Brown’s rights under federal, not just state law.
The federal lawsuit follows the release of the names of the two officers involved, and the acknowledgment that Tate-Brown was not reaching for a gun at the moment he was shot, as police had initially claimed. According to the family’s lawyer, Brian Mildenberg, the first suit was filed in state court because Pennsylvania rules allow for quicker discovery, or document production, than those in federal court. After reviewing those documents, Mildenberg said, he is “confident that it provides a strong basis to pursue the federal civil rights claims that were filed.”
With this new case comes a different set of legal challenges. Under Pennsylvania law, both municipal governments and their employees are largely immune from being sued. Federal law, on the other hand, generally permits lawsuits against officials who violate clearly established constitutional or statutory rights, and against local governments when they adopt an official policy or practice which leads to the civil rights violation. Federal precedent requires that the new lawsuit’s federal claims will be judged under the latter standard, while most of its state law claims, such as assault, will be judged by the former.
The original lawsuit in state court has been withdrawn, and The Declaration will continue to cover this new case going forward. You can see our previous coverage of the Brandon Tate-Brown shooting here.
You can also view the new complaint here: