MIAMI (CBS4) — A Miami-Dade Circuit Judge has ruled the shooting death of an unarmed man six years ago violated his civil rights.
In an unprecedented ruling, Judge William Thomas found that Miami-Dade police officer Carol McKinnon violated the constitutional rights of Rudy Morris when she shot him in the back while he was running away from her.
The shooting took place in June 2005. Morris was approached by two Miami-Dade police officers in a Miami convenience store regarding his connection to a stolen car.
Morris tried to run from Officer McKinnon after she accidentally tasered her partner Officer Guipson Balthazar. McKinnon and Morris collided as he ran toward the front of the store. He was unarmed but Officer McKinnon shot him twice in the back and elbow.
Judge Thomas ruled the use of deadly force was unjustified because Morris did not pose an immediate threat to the officers or to the public. He wrote in his decision, “Officer McKinnon should have known the clearly established law in the State of Florida is you cannot shoot an unarmed suspect in the back while the man is running away… [such conduct is] a violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
A wrongful death suit filed in 2007 by Mary Williams on behalf of her son, Morris, sought money damages against the county and officer Carol McKinnon. But a civil rights claim was added to the complaint by Williams’ attorneys.
The family will continue to seek monetary damages and plans on moving forward with a civil rights complaint against the county, arguing negligent training practices for police, said Attorney Ray Taseff.
McKinnon still works for Miami-Dade police, but she now processes burglary scenes for the Crime Scene Investigations unit.