Vegas Metro Police Dept. appeals 2009 wrongful death suit - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Vegas Metro Police Dept. appeals 2009 wrongful death suit

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Evie Oquendo and attorney E. Brent Bryson. (Robbie Hunt/FOX5) Evie Oquendo and attorney E. Brent Bryson. (Robbie Hunt/FOX5)
Tanner Chamberlain (FOX5 file) Tanner Chamberlain (FOX5 file)

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is appealing a federal judge's decision to allow a wrongful death lawsuit to go to trial.

The case stems from a September 2009 incident where an officer shot and killed a 15-year-old bipolar boy, Tanner Chamberlain, while he held his mother at knifepoint.

The department's decision to appeal will send this matter to the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco.

According to the plaintiff, that could delay this case from going before a jury for at least another year.

It's frustrating news for the boy's mother, Evie Oquendo, who told FOX5 the department hopes she'll run out of money or drop the case.

But that's something Oquendo said she won't do.

"It's 3 1/2 years now, and not a day goes by that I don't recall that incident ... I screamed several times, 'Don't shoot him, don't shoot him, don't shoot him!' I never called 911," Oquendo told FOX5.

But according to police, Metro Officer Derek Colling did shoot Chamberlain, killing him instantly.

"Officer Colling actually had his weapon up, trained on Tanner, until the time he shot and killed him was 10 seconds or less," said E. Brent Bryson, Oquendo's attorney in this case.

After a coroner's inquest found Colling's shooting justified, Oquendo and her attorney filed a wrongful death suit against the department.

The suit claimed Metro had negligent training of its officers and a practice of using excessive force.

It's a suit the department claimed didn't have merit for trial, filing a Motion for Summary Judgement to have the case dismissed.

But a few weeks ago, a federal judge disagreed, ruling in favor of the case going before a jury.

"Of course, we believe it should go to trial and let members of this community decide," Bryson told FOX5.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told FOX5 it cannot comment on any pending litigation.

Oquendo said she's not doing this for the money, but instead so that she can have justice for her son.

Colling was fired from the department in December 2011 after he allegedly beat a man for videotaping him and other officers.

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