Lawsuit: Cop Shoots Man Three Times in the Back, Kills Him After He “Stole Candy”

Ted Wheeler | Courthouse News Service

OMAHA (CN) — The mother of a man who was fatally shot in the back three times by an Omaha police officer sued the officer and the city Monday, asking for $2 million in damages for wrongful death.

Officer Alvin Lugod shot Daniel Elrod to death on Feb. 23, 2015. Elrod was suspected of stealing candy and cigarettes from a Family Dollar store. Elrod, 39, was unarmed and his “arms were extended” when Lugod shot him, his mother says in the complaint. He died at a hospital an hour later.

Lugod resigned in March 2015, two weeks after a grand jury cleared him of criminal wrongdoing. After the police chief accepted Lugod’s resignation, Elrod’s widow’s attorney at the time, James Martin Davis, told NBC station WOWT Channel 6 that though Lugod would not be criminally charged, “It didn’t mean there weren’t serious violations of departmental policy.”

Davis told the NBC station at the time that the widow would not decide whether to file a civil rights lawsuit until they could see video evidence that had been presented to the grand jury.

He said they also wanted to see a recent mental evaluation of Elrod, “which could support the ‘suicide by cop’ theory by police,” WOWT reported on March 24, 2015.

“It’s the second officer-involved shooting that involved this officer. And this time this officer shot an unarmed man and shot him in the back three times,” Davis told NBC.

Lugod’s mother, Lucinda Beadle, is represented by Brian Jorde with the Domina Law Group in the Monday lawsuit.

“Police shootings and killings of unarmed citizens have become an epidemic in our nation,” Jorde told Courthouse News. “Mr. Elrod’s family wants to prevent more unnecessary deaths at the hands of those who are sworn to protect us. Danny Elrod suffered a needless death and his wife is now without a husband and his young son is without a father.”

Elrod’s son is 6 years old.

The Elrods say this was not the first time Lugod displayed “unprofessional conduct including improper use of force,” though the city had not removed him from duty.

The Omaha Police Department declined to comment. Its account of the fatal confrontation differed from the Elrod family’s during grand jury deliberations in March 2015.

The Omaha World-Herald reported on March 12, 2015 that Elrod acted erratically when confronted by police. According to Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, Elrod refused to show his hands when ordered to do so and reached into the waistband of his pants, the World-Herald reported.

“Elrod hollered at officers: ‘Shoot me? Shoot me? For what?’ He continued to ignore officers’ commands,” according to the newspaper report.

Elrod then leapt from the hood of a car toward a fence, and Lugod shot him, according to police. The 98-second confrontation was recorded on video.

Amanda Elrod, the widow, “didn’t want the officer prosecuted for homicide,” attorney Davis told the World-Herald after Lugod was cleared by the grand jury. “She’s more concerned with the civil aspect as opposed to criminal.


Attorney Jorde said Tuesday: “Greater training, education, and supervision are required by the OPD for its officers who are in dangerous situations each and every day so that they clearly understand when deadly force is justified and when it is not. Shooting and killing an unarmed person in the back who was posing no substantial risk to others is never justified and cannot be accepted in our community or anywhere in this country.”

The Oct. 10 lawsuit contains an offer to settle for $2 million, for wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering. It gives the respondents 30 days to respond, and says that the settlement offer “shall not be repeated.”

Published by Courthouse News Service.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3682 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • ImNotTelling

    When is a higher authority going to say enough is enough and step in and charge these murdering cops with murder?

    + If an unarmed man broke into your house or your neighbors and lunges at you or anyone else then you are likely afraid for your safety and you have the right to defend yourself and even shoot them, likely the police will harass the hell out of you and make you believe you are going to jail for murder as they tried to get you and all witnesses to “confess” the truth as to why you shot someone, but likely you would be passed the nightmare and not be charged.
    + If that same man turns and runs away and you shoot him in the back then you would be charged with murder.

    Why does the criminal justice system have two sets of laws/rules, one for themselves and police officers and one for everybody else?

    This cop was NOT fired for shooting an unarmed man in the back, even though they admit that this was not the first time Officer Lugod displayed “unprofessional conduct including improper use of force,”.
    The fact that they knew he had used improper force in the past should have benched this officer until he went through rigorous training and mental health evaluation, but they did nothing. So they knew they had a scared cop who bullied others and who did not follow the rules or the law working on their police force and they should have known it was just a matter of time before he severely injured or killed someone! The city lost the lawsuit and has to pay out 2 million dollars, in tax payer money. They did NOT charge this cop with murder, even though it clearly was NOT a need for deadly force. They did NOT even fire the officer, he eventually quit, which means he could go back to work on that police force or any other! Nothing has changed, the police department has not suffered only the victim, their family and the tax payers. Given those facts, this ex-police officers supervisors and their supervisors should be fired or recalled, because they knowingly put an unsafe officer on the streets! Whomever is responsible for reviewing this case and NOT charging this officer with murder needs to be fired, because NO OFFICER has the legal right to shoot and kill anyone just because they run. Even if the victim had been armed the rules of “deadly force” did not apply. You are NOT allowed to shoot someone to stop them from running away!

    Cops can murder anyone they want, Cosby & Trump can sexually assault woman because they are famous and a conman with a history of and who is still under investigation for fraud, whose only qualifications are that he knows how to steal from investors, legally own slaves and file bankruptcy to keep his wealth can run for president.

    My God, THIS truly is the end of times!

  • Not pro Israel

    The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops. ~Robert Higgs