Metro sued, officer rebuked after police shoot shoplifter

Monday, March 25, 2013 at 2:15pm

The Metro Nashville Police Department faces a lawsuit after an officer opened fire on suspected shoplifters a year ago.

Both sides have differing viewpoints of the perceived level of danger during the incident. Lakeisha Floyd claims that she and Ashleigh Cox were entering their car on the premises of Rivergate Mall in March 2012 when several police officers in plain clothes surrounded the vehicle. According to the lawsuit, the officers didn’t properly identify themselves and Cox drove away out of fear.

Floyd, sitting on the passenger side of the vehicle, claims she heard gunshots and then noticed she had been shot in the knee. Floyd and Cox were apprehended at a later date.

An internal review by MNPD tells a somewhat different story about the events on March 19, 2012. Metro police officer Christopher Cote said he was tracking Floyd and Cox at Rivergate Mall as they attempted to return stolen merchandise for cash at several stores.

Police vehicles boxed in Cox’s car and officers loudly identified themselves as they approached the vehicle, the internal review said. When Cox started to drive away, Cote claimed he feared for the safety of another officer, who was in front of the car, and opened fire.

Police documents claim Cox struck an officer with her vehicle, but the lawsuit states she drove around the officer.

Cote told an internal review committee that he fired one shot at the windshield to stop the driver and another shot that went through the back bumper. The committee ruled that Cote used poor judgment on the second shot and required him to receive remedial training.

The lawsuit seeks $100,000 in damages from both Cote, who fired the shots, and Metro.

Floyd’s attorney, George Thompson, didn’t return a call for comment.

The Metro Nashville Department of Law doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

17 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 3/25/13 at 2:45

Let's play Metro Police "Jeopardy". Answer is: Rivergate Mall. Question: Where do police go to avoid. Preventing and arresting gang and drug crimes?

By: Jughead on 3/25/13 at 2:49

I wish they would have killed them all. Scum thug hoodrats.

By: Rasputin72 on 3/25/13 at 4:05

Jughead is a true patriot. I am very proud of his courage to say what is in the minds of almost all productive citizens. I am sure that I would never be called for jury duty and even surer that I would not be chosen to serve. It would of course be my civic duty to serve if asked.

By: Ask01 on 3/25/13 at 5:36

First, did they actually have stolen merchandise in their possession, did evidence prove they had stolen the merchandise in question, and did the two have prior convictions for trafficking in stolen merchandise?

Second, did the two, aside from driving away when people allegedly identifying themselves as plainclothes police, something anyone, even criminals could do, offer any reason for the officers to open fire?

Third, well actually the first two paragraphs pretty much cover everything.

If they didn't have the merchandise or a history of criminal activity, and law enforcement was only acting on suspicion, why the cowboy tactics and trigger happy antics?

What sort of mental defective detective expects anyone to trust some yahoos claiming to be a cops surrounding their car and meekly stop? Anyone, as noted, can say they are police, flash some sort of badge, then committ some sort of heinous crime.

There are many details not covered in this story.

The bottom line is I don't trust cops just because they go out of their way to claim they"loudly" identified themselves. If they didn't not a one is going to ever admit they did not.

Plus, they were admittedly plainclothes, so who is going to take some joker seriously just because they claim to be a cop especially two women in a mall parking lot?

Beyond that, what about the dubious wisdom of discharging a firearm in a mall parking lot?

In the end, if they did indeed have stolen merchandise, they should have been arrested. I wonder why, though, they weren't approached in the store or mall by uniformed officers if they were supposedly tracking them?

I can't wait to see how this plays out.

By: Rasputin72 on 3/25/13 at 6:57

I seldom find a statement by ASKOl to be a well thouvht remark. However his statement of "I don't trust cops" rings oh so true.

By: Ask01 on 3/26/13 at 3:33

Rasp, I don't normally respond to your nonsense, fearing you might actually think yourself a human being, but aren't you late for last call at the shelter?

I sometimes wonder what you'll do when Mayor Dean implements his 'Final Solution' to drive the homeless panhandlers from his shiny new convention center, then I realize I really don't care. Get a job, you bum!

By: Rasputin72 on 3/26/13 at 6:59

ASKOI............I would like to see all of the people like you given an IQ test and a solvency test.

Let the Big Dog Eat!

By: Kosh III on 3/26/13 at 7:01

Well said ask01; we are rapidly becoming a fascist(corporatist) police state.

By: wasaw on 3/26/13 at 10:29

It would appear that some of the former writers didn't read the article. Everything in the curt documents will have to be proven to the jury.

Firstly, the police department has the video to back up their claims that these "nice" ladies were doing what everyone does at Rivergate Mall: steal and then take merchandise back for cash. Believe me, the defendants attorney George Thompson, ( a former long term school board member) is a lightweight sleazebag. George is hoping that the Metro attorneys will take his low-ball settlement, but they won't.

Do you really think theives don't attempt to escape when confronted? When was the last time one of you guys wives were confronted in a mall parking lot and attempted to run over a person? Some of you guys have been watching too much TV. Todays theives, gentlemen, will do aything to prevent getting caught.

You noticed that the article did not mention the criminal record of these ladies. Of course a good sleazebag such as George Thompson would't do that but be sure the jury will learn quickly of the ladies past.

Gentlemen, isn't America GREAT. Even common thieves can go into court and complan about how they were apprehended. Try that in any other country. It's folks like courier37027 and ASK01 who make the job of policer officers so rewarding. LE's put their lives in jeapordy every day for guys like you two. If you two distrust your local LE's so much, why don't you call each other the next time your wife is tortured and raped.

This complaint won't see a courtroom for trial in less than a year. The theives will have completed their sentences by then.

By: Ask01 on 3/26/13 at 5:03

wasaw, I fear I have struck a nerve.


Just to clarify, since you seemed to have trouble comprehending, I did note many facts were left out, so I felt free to outline some possibilities.

I did wonder about the existence of prior criminal records, not mentioned, and still wonder if the pair had stolen merchandise in their possession.

I also still marvel at the sophmoric decision of MNPD's finest to confront them as they were getting in a car, where a weapon could have been planted or the vehicle itself used as a weapon.

I still question why they expected someone to listen to them in plain clothes yelling police when anyone could do that as a ruse to perpetrate a crime.

And please, can you not do better than the puerile tripe so oft parroted about "call someone else" if you are in trouble? That is such a juvenile, over used bit of rhetoric.

By: Ask01 on 3/26/13 at 5:04

Oh, and I am glad if I can bring a ray of sunshine and reward to the boys in blue.

By: rickmuz on 3/27/13 at 7:18

@#$& these thieving BITCHES!!!! Metro should be investigating why he missed!!!

By: Jughead on 3/27/13 at 8:35

Metro needs more range training. This should have resulted in bodybags. Instead, it results in public defenders, free medical and housing, and idiots like ASK01 wanting to coddle the hoodrats.

And, that is why America is imploding.

By: PKVol on 3/27/13 at 8:44

Ask01, can you cite an instance when criminals "Loudly identified" themselves as police and perpetrated a crime as a result? It is a good idea, but I have never heard of a situation where that tactic was used.

By: wasaw on 3/27/13 at 3:46

Ask01, you make me laugh. I once had a professor in college who you remind me of. He thought he knew everything about how the real world operates, but we learned he'd never had a job off campus. What do you do?

How much interaction have you had in your past with law enforcement, short of being stopped for a minor traffic violation? Have you ever been assaulted, victim of a theft: have any of your relatives needed the help of the local police.

Real police don't work like you see on TV. That's Hollywood stuff. The officer was reprimanded for only one thing; taking the second shot, when he was still in the excitement of the moment. Once the car was going away from him, he didn't have a justifiable reason to take the second shot. His penalty; go to shooting remedial school. There, he'll (and he already has) shoot a lot of ammo, in front of the target. This investigation is complete. Mr. Thompson's law practice must be hurting for him to take on this case. Even if Metro Government gets a jury loaded with folks such as yourself Ask01, and could somehow lose the civil case, they'd appeal it to an Appeals Court, loaded with judges who think straight. Good luck Asl01. With the way you think, you need all the luck you can get.

By: Ask01 on 3/27/13 at 4:35

Yawn to all.

By: Ask01 on 3/27/13 at 5:17

I am sorry. that wa a little too flippant in view of the comprehension level of commenters.

Jughead, an apropo name, I never advocated coddling the two. Try to keep up now. I did question the evidence and the methods employed by law enforcement. I said they needed to be arrested if they had stolen merchandise.

PKVol, don't you ever watch the news or read papers? I can recall several instances in recent months when fake police pulled people over or otherwise tried to scam citizens posing as police. It is only a short jump to yelling "Police, freeze," in an attempt to distract a victim long enough to rob or otherwise harm them. Try thinking a little.

wasaw, again with the lame and tired rhetoric. Don't you ever tire of the standard nonsense? I'm glad, however I made you laugh. It isn't often one finds someone so easily amused.

The last time I interacted with cops was when I hung up on them begging for money for those injured. (Let them buy better insurance instead of pestering the public.) I realize cops don't act like on tv. TV cops actually solve crimes and treat citizens fairly. Since you seem to know so much about the guilty cops 'punishment' you must be one of them. My condolences.

Me, I work. That's all you need to know.

If I was on the jury, I would probably find the two should have been arrested for theft but question the tactics. Why weren't they arrested before reaching the car? Was an officer really endangered? Were there security cameras at the mall? What did they show? Were they lost because they didn't back up the police account? All those questions would be on my mind before rendering a decision.

Now, run along children, I see no need to address any of you further, just like the deluded birther and the equally delusional mad monk.