Widow Sues Police Who Fatally Shot Husband Along Interstate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The widow of a Tennessee man has filed a federal lawsuit against nine police officers who fatally shot her husband during a standoff along an interstate highway earlier this year, a published report said.

In a suit filed Thursday, Chelesy Eastep maintains the officers used excessive force and should be liable for the death of Landon Eastep, The Tennessean reported.

Eastep’s encounter with police began with a state trooper checking on his welfare as he sat on a guardrail along Interstate 65 the afternoon of Jan. 27. After a brief interaction, Eastep pulled a box cutter and the trooper called for backup, police said. Many other officers arrived, blocking traffic in both directions as a helicopter circled overhead.

Authorities pleaded with Eastep, 37, to surrender while they kept their guns drawn, but fatally shot him when police say he pulled another shiny object from his pocket and pointed it at police as if ready to shoot. The shooting involved six Metro Nashville police officers, two state troopers and an off-duty officer from Mt. Juliet.

Attorney David J. McKenzie, who represents Chelesy Eastep, said it was unfair to expect Landon to act reasonably with multiple guns pointed at him.

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The suit also named the cities of Nashville and Mt. Juliet, saying they didn’t train officers properly in de-escalation and use of force tactics for people suffering emotional distress. It did not name the Tennessee Highway Patrol, citing constitutional protections for state agencies.

The Tennesseans reported that requests for comment were sent to legal representatives of the departments named in the suit, but it wasn’t clear whether the complaint had been served.

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