Settlement paid to children of man shot by police
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette city-parish government paid $163,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by the three children of a man who was shot and killed by a police officer responding to a report of a stolen vehicle in 2008.
City-parish government paid $54,500 to each of the three children of 37-year-old Shane Damond, who was fatally shot by Officer Michael Milazzo in July 2008, according to settlement documents released this week in response to a public records request from The Advocate.
City-Parish Attorney Mike Hebert declined to comment on the case other than to reference the settlement documents, which state that city-parish government denies liability and agreed to the settlement with Damond’s children “merely for the purposes of avoiding litigation and to buy their peace.”
The agreement also prohibits the children or their attorney from discussing the settlement or to even acknowledge its existence.
The shooting occurred at the Circle K at Louisiana and Mudd avenues after Milazzo approached Damond when the officer spotted Damond in a car that had been reported stolen three days earlier, city-parish attorneys said in court documents.
City-parish attorneys argued that the officer approached Damond and attempted to reach into the car to stop him from backing up when the officer lost his footing while standing at the car door, which was open.
The officer then fired as he was being dragged backward by the door while Damond tried to back away, according to city-parish attorneys.
Damond’s attorney, Jeffery Speer, offered a different scenario, arguing that Milazzo was standing up and not in the path of the vehicle when he fired.
The attorney maintained that the officer should have tried less violent means of arresting Damond.
There was no known video footage of the incident to independently verify the sequence of events before the shooting, according to court records.
A grand jury in 2009 reviewed the officer’s actions and cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing.
Damond’s siblings also sought damages for the man’s death, but U.S. District Judge Richard Haik dismissed those claims.
Speer has appealed that dismissal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.