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Suit alleges excessive force during Burke apprehension
The lawsuit filed last week alleges the police officer who fatally shot D’Wayne Burke in June 2013 did so with malice.
The lawsuit filed by Burke’s mother Diane Potter against the city of Sardis alleges the fatal gunshot wound sustained by Burke does not comport with Sardis Officer Mark Cates’ account of the facts surrounding the incident. The suit says the wound to the back does not comport with Cates and Burke County Deputies’ account that Burke attempted to attack the officers with an ax during the reported burglary at the Sardis Police Department that resulted in Burke’s death.
The suit also questions why Burke was handcuffed upon the arrival of emergency medical services.
“A reasonable jury could conclude that Officer Cates acted intentionally and with malice when shooting D’Wayne Burke,” the suit states.
The suit states that the City of Sardis Police Department failed to properly train and/or supervise its officers in “how to appropriately respond to encounters.”
Named as defendants in the suit are the City of Sardis, Sardis City Police Department, Mayor J. Preston Conner, Sardis council members, Sardis Police Chief Benjamin Scott Sanford and Cates.
The lawsuit states Cates’ account was he returned to the police department on the morning of June 10, 2013, and noticed the door had been kicked in to the department’s evidence room.
Cates then reportedly called for back up from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office to begin clearing the building, and upon entering the file room saw former Sardis police officer Burke allegedly in possession of an ax and wearing a mask.
Cates and the deputy claim Burke tried to come towards the deputy with the ax and that is when Cates says he fired a shot at Burke hitting him in the back.
Cates filed the shooting as an act of self-defense to protect the deputy.
An autopsy report on Burke ruled that the cause of death was a gunshot wound. Potter is seeking damages of $1 million in the case.