INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The parents of an innocent man killed in an Independence police chase are suing the city and officers, accusing them of negligence.
Jake Monteer’s family filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Jackson County court, accusing the Independence Police Department of fostering a “Wild West culture” that encourages an average of 300 pursuits each year.
Monteer and another woman on his motorcycle, Jessica Fields, died March 22 when the driver of a stolen Jeep lost control after hitting stop sticks.
The lawsuit claims officers put the sticks in an intersection — against policy and manufacturer guidelines — and then tried to cover it up by leaving it out of the police report.
The family’s lawsuit also alleges the chase itself was against policy. The suit says the officer who first spotted the stolen car sitting empty didn’t try other ways to prevent the driver from leaving in it.
That driver, Melvin Brown, has been charged with second-degree murder. He’s scheduled to go on trial in March.
The city of Independence released the following statement in regard to the lawsuit:
“For the Independence Police Department, the safety of the public is always the highest priority. Any loss of life is tragic, but the death of an innocent bystander weighs heavily on all of us. We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed by the Monteer family, but neither the officers nor the city have been served.”