MADISON, Ala. — Family members of a man shot and killed by Madison police in 2019 have filed new lawsuits against Madison, its police department and city officials.
A lawsuit filed in Madison County Circuit Court by Dana Fletcher’s mother, Deborah Fletcher, names the city, Madison Mayor Paul Finley, Madison Police Chief Johnny Gandy and members of the City Council as defendants.
Dana Fletcher, 39, was shot and killed by Madison police officers on Oct. 27, 2019 in a parking lot at the intersection of Highway 72 and Wall Triana Highway.
Madison Police said officers responded to a call about Fletcher and woman inside a Planet Fitness taking pictures and asking inappropriate questions. They found Fletcher, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter in a van in the parking lot.
Officers pulled Fletcher’s wife and daughter from the van. Authorities said Fletcher pointed a gun at officers before he was shot and killed by an unidentified Madison police officer.
The Madison County District Attorney’s Office said Fletcher’s shooting was justified and did not present the case to a grand jury.
Deborah Fletcher’s lawsuit filed in Madison County Circuit Court asks that the court declare Madison PD’s policies and procedures unconstitutional and force the city to provide detailed and specific training to officers “on how to identify consensual encounters and how to disengage upon a subject’s demonstration of noncompliance during such an encounter.”
In federal court, Dana Fletcher’s wife has filed a lawsuit alleging the city violated Dana’s civil rights. The lawsuit asks for changes to city policy and seek payment from the city for wrongful death and pain and suffering, among other things.
The city of Madison issued a statement Wednesday stating it “plans a vigorous defense,” and that an independent investigation into the encounter found that Fletcher threatened police with a gun.
“The City stands behind its officers and will defend their actions in a court of law,” the statement read. It added there would be no further comment on the lawsuit.
The family has also sued noted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and his co-counsel, Antonio Romanucci, for legal malpractice in federal court. They claim Crump and Romanucci’s “incompetence and negligence” in the handling of the case could lead to difficulty winning the wrongful death lawsuit.
Cherelle Fletcher claims that after Crump had agreed to represent the family, she asked for his advice on whether an independent should be done before Dana Fletcher’s body was cremated. According to Mrs. Fletcher, Crump told her that there wasn’t a need for an independent autopsy and that the body should be cremated right away.
News 19 reached out to Crump’s office, but as of Thursday afternoon, we have not received a response.