A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday afternoon against the City of Stockton, the Police Department, and two of its officers claim officers did not use proper training when dealing with a man armed with a hammer. It also stated that officers cared about the life of a dog more than that of Matautu Nuu, a Stockton man who died after Stockton Police Officers shot him as he was allegedly holding a hammer.
As FOX40 reported in January, Nuu was shot to death by Stockton Police Officers after the department claimed he posed a threat with his hammer.
The intersection where Matautu Nuu was killed is now full of candles, mementos from family and the community.
The lawsuit claims officers should have approached Nuu in a more careful manner.
A side-by-side comparison of what witnesses captured on their cell phones on January 28th shows the last moment's Matautu Nuu's life, a scene that has come into question by his family. "I think when he got tased that was good enough force for them... They didn’t have to overreact by killing him,” Rose Talivaa, Matautu’s 16-year-old daughter explained.
The Nuu family has filed a federal lawsuit against the Stockton Police Department, the Police Chief, Officers John Griffin and Jason Schaffer, and the City of Stockton.
Attorney John Burris claimed the department did not use proper training methods. "It was pretty obvious to any reasonably, well-trained police officer that he was out of his head. He was mental, he was intoxicated,” John Burris, the Nuu Family Attorney said.
Burris added, Nuu was developmentally disabled and that officers knew of his condition. He alleged that instead of using a canine on Nuu, who was armed with a hammer at the intersection of El Dorado and Martinique Court, they should have talked him down. “Fighting the dog off from him, and then the police came across and tased him and shot him multiple times,” the lawyer explained.
Burris claimed the officers were more concerned with the dog's welfare and not Nuu's. We reached out to the Stockton Police Department and the city who told — they cannot comment on pending litigation. But back in January they claimed they had no choice, "Officers are still trying to talk with the man, trying to get him just to put down the hammer which is being described as a claw hammer. At which point two officers, since the man was not complying, used their tasers which had no effect on the suspect,” Officer Joe Silva, Spokesperson for the Stockton Police Department told FOX40 in January.
"All we want is justice and we’re not going to stop ’til we get justice,” Talivaa said.
The Nuu family said they want answers and more importantly, they want closure. "He’s very friendly, he’s not a shy person,” Karisamasi Nuu, Matautu’s sister said as she wiped away tears.
The Nuu family said they've suffered emotional distress and are seeking $10 million in damages for lost wages and funeral costs.