Two Arkansas police officers have been accused of violating the civil rights of a 107-year-old man shot to death last year during a SWAT standoff.
Officers were called Sept. 7, 2013, to the Pine Bluff home of Monroe Isadore, who had allegedly pointed a gun at two people inside.
Police said Isadore fired a gun through a bedroom door after they approached him, and he fired again after SWAT officers slipped gas into the room.
An officer who knew Isadore had hearing difficulties attempted to negotiate with the older man, who fired two more gunshots after SWAT officers threw a gas canister into the room.
SWAT officers were ordered to storm the bedroom before Isadore could reload, and police threw a flash grenade into the room.
Officer Brad Vilches shot and killed Isadore with his rifle.
An autopsy showed he had been shot seven times.
A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses Vilches and Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks of violating Isadore’s civil rights.
The suit seeks damages for pain, suffering, and mental anguish, medical and funeral expenses, in addition to punitive damages and attorney fees and costs.
The lawsuit accuses Hubanks for ordering the SWAT team raid and for his alleged failure to train Vilches and the other officers involved.
Vilches is accused in the lawsuit of using excessive force.
Hubanks defended the use of force against Isadore, saying he had fired his weapon during the standoff.
“We have options and, you know, we could go for days if need be, but I’m only willing to do that if somebody is sitting quietly and just perhaps being obstinate,” Hubanks said. “Mr. Isadore was firing rounds and our mandate is to protect the public above all else. That’s what government does. That’s what the police do. We protect the public and had I stood down and allowed him to, hopefully, run out of bullets or fall asleep or whatever anyone else wants to suggest as an outcome, I’m not protecting the public at that point. He’s still a clear and present danger.”
Isadore’s family said they were hurt that police never contacted them, and they don’t know why they didn’t make further attempts to communicate with Isadore when police knew of his hearing issues.
“Saying that he wouldn’t do anything different, that’s what’s so hurtful to the family,” said Paula Aguilar, the slain man’s youngest daughter. “That he doesn’t, it’s like he’s not remorseful for what happened. He just doesn’t care. For them to not even come back and even talk to us — to this day they still haven’t talked to the family.”
Watch this video report posted online by KATV-TV: