The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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June 16, 2014

Police deny violating rights in shooting

FARRELL — It took seven months, but Southwest Mercer County Regional police have answered a lawsuit filed by the girlfriend of a man two policemen shot to death on Nov. 24, 2011.

Taliea Robinson, administrator of the estate of Donteau Napier, filed suit Nov. 25, 2013, alleging various constitutional violations and wrongful death.

Robinson called 911 reporting a domestic incident. She said Napier, her 27-year-old fiancé, had threatened her with a gun and taken her car, according to information released by Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems.

Robinson also told the dispatcher Napier was bipolar and that he was going to have a shootout with police.

While police were looking for Napier, he returned to Robinson’s apartment on Dream Boulevard in Farrell. He tried to drag Robinson outside the apartment, but left when relatives intervened.

He went to the car, got a handgun and tried to reenter the apartment.

Napier drove away, police caught up to him, and he drove back to the apartment.

He got out and was confronted by a policeman with a drawn weapon. A second policeman took cover behind a car.

The names of the policemen have not been released, and Robinson identified them only as John Does.

Police told Napier to get down with his hands away from his body. He responded by shouting an expletive, adding, “Shoot me. Shoot me.”

The policeman who was not behind the car put his weapon away and got out a Taser electronic shocking device. He was too far away from Napier to use the Taser, so he walked closer and told Napier to get down or he would be Tased.

Napier grabbed at his shirt and reached behind him.

The policeman dropped his Taser, pulled his weapon and fired eight shots, none of which seemed to have any effect on Napier.

The policeman behind the car fired three shots after concluding Napier might be wearing body armor.

Napier was hit three times, by bullets from policemen. He did not have a gun or body armor.

Robinson argued Napier did not pose a threat to anyone, even though he was “clearly emotionally disturbed.”

Police made no attempt to de-escalate the situation or use less than lethal force, she said.

In their response filed June 2, police said Napier’s physical attributes, actions, appearance and demeanor, coupled with the information Robinson had provided, showed he “presented a clear and present threat of harm” to police and others in the vicinity.

Police said they did not provoke Napier and tried to use less than lethal force prior to firing.

The department said it “believes that responding police officers were justified in the use of deadly force against (Napier) who had engaged in a course of conduct that was threatening, combative and non-compliant.”

Police said they did not violate Napier’s rights under the U.S. constitution “or any other law.”

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