KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of a man shot and killed by Kansas City, Mo., police five years ago began Wednesday in Jackson County Court.
Angela Davis is asking the jury to award her more than a million dollars for the death of her son, Terry Davis, who was 26-years old.
Robert Vivano, the officer who fired the shot that killed Davis took the stand on Wednesday.
He said he was chasing Davis in the area of 26th and Jackson, when Davis suddenly turned around and faced him. Vivano, a 12-year veteran of the police force and a member of the SWAT team told the court that he had no choice but to shoot Davis when Davis pointed a gun at his chest.
“I was shocked that he had a gun in his waistband,” testified Robert Vivano. “He pointed it at my chest.”
Two women who witnessed the shooting said that’s not how it happened.
They claim Davis had his hands up and was getting on his knees when he was shot at point-blank range.
“His hands were up and he was kneeling,” said Michelle Evans, who was a witness.
Angela Davis, the victim’s mother, had to be led out of the courtroom at one point after she started crying when a picture of her dead son was shown to the jury.
“From up to down this bullet did not go straight into his chest,” said Andrew Protzman, the attorney representing the Davis family. “It went in from up to down.”
Patrick Baird, the attorney representing the police, told the jury that the case is about self-defense and the split-second decision Vivano faced.
Police originally tried to pull over Davis for driving erratically, but said Davis sped away. He then jumped out of his truck and tried to run away on foot, but was spotted by a helicopter.
“We’re here today because on May 8th, 2008, Terry Davis refused to surrender and he pointed a gun at officer Vivano and tried to kill him,” Baird said.