$20-million wrongful death lawsuit filed against Southaven and police by family of Ismael Lopez

Local I-Team

Attorney Murray Wells, who is representing the family of Ismael Lopez, held a news conference Thursday afternoon. We will bring more on this story on Local 24 News.

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – The family of Ismael Lopez has filed a $20-million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Southaven, the chief of Southaven Police, and the officers involved in Lopez’s death.

The lawsuit asks for $8-million in actual/compensatory damages, $12-million in punitive damages, and funeral and burial expenses of $25,000.

According to the lawsuit, in late July 2017, three Southaven officers were looking for a domestic violence suspect, a neighbor of Ismael Lopez’s, when they pounded late night on the door of Lopez’s home, instead of the suspect’s home they were meant to be at. The lawsuit claims witnesses did not hear the officers identify themselves. It says Lopez, who had been asleep with his wife, opened the door and immediately closed it after seeing men wearing all black with guns drawn, not realizing they were officers.

The lawsuit says Lopez tried to go back to the bedroom to protect his wife, when shots were fired through the door, hitting Lopez and his dog several times. The lawsuit says Lopez was shot in the back of the head and killed. It also claims Lopez did not have a firearm of other deadly weapon on him when he was shot, and that no DNA or fingerprints from Lopez were found on a rifle about 6-feet away from his body.

Last July, District Attorney John Champion told Local 24 News two of the officers knocked on the door, then stepped back. He said based on the evidence he received from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Lopez opened the door and a dog charged at one of the officers. One officer shot at the dog. Champion said that’s when another officer noticed Lopez holding a rifle at the doorway. 

Ismael Lopez

The attorneys representing Ismael Lopez said, at that time, the MBI report shows contradictions between the facts and officer statements on scene.

The Desoto County district attorney said last July the investigation is closed and remains closed after a grand jury declined to indict the officers last year. Previously, Champion said the Southaven officer who shot and killed Lopez no longer works for the department.

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