Family files lawsuit against Santa Clara after deadly police shooting

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The family of 24-year-old Jesus Geney has filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Clara after they say he was killed during a psychological episode in March.

Heartbreak doesn't even begin to describe the pain that Amanda Sommers and her family have been feeling over the past five months.

"Every day is so hard for me," says Sommers. "I need my son."

Sommers' son, Jesus A. Geney, was shot and killed by Santa Clara Police on March 9th just a few blocks away from the family's home. She called police multiple that day after he barricaded himself inside his bedroom. Reports indicate he may have cut himself with a knife.

The 24-year-old man eventually fled out through a window but was found by police along a retaining wall next to the nearby train tracks. Efforts to use a Taser on him were unsuccessful. Officers who caught up to Geney said he threatened them with a gun. One says he had no choice but to shoot him.

However, Geney's family disputes the department's recollection of events, saying he never had a weapon. Today, they filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Santa Clara seeking damages and police reform.

"The police were aware that he (Geney) had a psychiatric issue. He was unarmed and essentially naked, there's just no justification for that (shooting)," says Fulvio Cajina, a civil rights attorney who is representing Sommers.

Santa Clara resident, Laurie Valdez, who lost her husband in an officer-involved shooting in San Jose a few years ago, has been trying to provide comfort to Sommers and her family.

"We need officers to know what empathy is, we need officers who are cultural and diverse trained," says Valdez. "We need them to know how to communicate."

Ray Jayadev with Silicon Valley De-Bug, a local civil rights organization, says filing a civil lawsuit is one of the few things a family can do to seek justice for a relative they've lost in an officer-involved shooting.

"These are families that have been brought together by tragedy, and are really trying to have some public conversation around police violence, and the right of their loved ones to still be alive today," Jayadev said.

The Santa Clara Police Department says it cannot comment on pending litigation. However, a department spokesperson did confirm to ABC7 News the officer who shot Geney is now back from administrative leave.

"I feel my life is over now," says Sommers. "My son was everything to me."

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office is reviewing the case.

Related Topics:
deadly shootingpolice shootingofficer involved shootinglawsuitSanta Clara
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