Family of veteran shot and killed by Eugene Police seeks to take civil case to jury trial

Eugene Police responded to the home of Brian Babb on March 30, 2015, after his counselor called dispatchers and said she was afraid the veteran - suffering from PTSD - was going to harm himself with a firearm. An officer shot and killed Babb less than an hour later. (SBG/File)

EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene Police responded to the home of Brian Babb on March 30, 2015, after his counselor called dispatchers and said she was afraid the veteran - suffering from PTSD - was going to harm himself with a firearm.

RELATED | Therapist critical of police response that left veteran dead

Forty minutes after police arrived, an officer said Babb pointed a rifle at him.

After demanding Babb drop his weapon, the officer fired a fatal shot.

The district attorney determined officers were justified in using deadly force.

RELATED | 'The officer who chose to shoot had no reasonable viable alternative'

Babb's family had a different reaction.

"We knew right away that something was seriously amiss," said Stephanie Babb, Brian's sister.

The family filed a civil suit, seeking monetary damages against the officers involved and the city.

In response, an attorney representing the city and officers filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the officers actions were justified.

But Stephanie Babb says the family is concerned about elements of the investigation, such as the photos taken of the scene after her brother was shot.

"By their own admission they had moved the gun aside to take a photo," she said. "So why didn't they just take a photo where it supposedly had fallen if he had been holding a gun?"

Melinda McLaughlin, a spokesperson for the Eugene Police, provided a written response.

"We ordinarily would not respond to cases in active litigation, however in this case the allegations that Mr. Babb was unarmed or that officers planted evidence are patently false and unsupported by any evidence," McLaughlin wrote.

The attorney representing the city and the officers involved said they will address any inaccuracies point by point on December 12 when their response to the court is due.

The Babb family - represented by civil rights attorney Andrew M. Stroth - is opposing the motion for summary judgment and asking for a trial by jury.

"We'll let the people decide, show them the evidence and let them decide, I think that's fair," Smith said. "Most of these cases in federal court are resolved before the trial, but the Babb family is fully prepared to take this case all the way to trial."

"We will see this through," Stephanie Babb said. "It doesn't matter how long this takes."

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