Family sues Florida City detective, claims he may have planted gun in fatal 2018 shooting

U.S. 2020/6/5

Relatives have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against a Florida City police officer who they say fired at least two rounds through the back door of an apartment and killed a 23-year-old named Juvon Simon.

Two years ago, authorities cleared Detective Frantz Hardy in the case, saying he shot Simon as he was reaching for the weapon in his waistband at the doorway of the apartment. But a federal lawsuit filed Thursday contends that Simon was unarmed, and suggests the detective planted the gun to try and justify the killing.

The lawsuit relies on a new details from Simon’s friend, who was inside the apartment sitting on a couch.

“Hardy unjustifiably and without provocation shot Juvon three times,” the lawsuit said. “Juvon was not armed. He did not display any sign of aggression towards Hardy ... there was no direct, immediate threat to Hardy, any citizen or police officer.”

Hardy could not be reached for comment, and it was unclear if he had retained a lawyer to defend the lawsuit. He is currently a member of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, but the union did not represent him during the shooting investigation because he was not a member at the time.

The lawsuit was filed as protests against police brutality have erupted in cities across the nation over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. The white officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder and manslaughter, and three others also face criminal charges.

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