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.