When Gregory Ehlers, Jr., age 34, ran out of a Best Buy without paying for his items, he likely had no idea it would be his last run to anywhere. Miami-Dade County police gave chase as Ehlers fled on foot until he crossed over into Broward County. The officers then put out an APB, specifically noting that the fleeing Ehlers was not armed.
Several squad cars from the Hallandale Beach Police Department gave chase as Ehlers took refuge on the roof-top of a house just a little more than a mile from the Best Buy. Twenty seconds after Officer Edward McGovern arrived at the house, he fired three shots, two of which hit Ehlers who bled to death shortly after.
Although the shooting death occurred in 2012, the criminal investigation is still pending. Meanwhile, David Heffernan, partner here at0 Kaire and Heffernan, LLC, reached a civil settlement with the City of Hallandale Beach. He was able to avoid a lengthy and costly trial and obtain a $150,000 settlement for Ehlers family, double the original offer made by the City. This is close to the $200,000 maximum available according to state law relevant to excessive force police cases.
Ehlers father, a retired computer engineer, is angry that the criminal case is taking so long. He is satisfied with the civil settlement and states that the funds will be used to provide some “financial stability” for his grandson.
Heffernan has turned over the results of his investigation for the civil case to the state attorney to assist in the on-going criminal investigation. This includes printouts of 911 bystander calls made while Ehlers Jr. was on the roof. The state says the recordings of the calls no longer exist, but the call logs document that at least two callers reported hearing someone calling for help. One caller reported that “someone is begging for their life and please don’t shoot.” Another caller reported, “I heard someone screaming for their life.”
It was also discovered that, although Ehlers had previous criminal charges for drug and theft offenses, he had never been charged with any crimes involving violence or weapons. He had never been a registered gun owner and, despite Officer McGovern’s standard police claim that he feared Ehlers was reaching for a weapon, the only item found on the roof near Ehlers body was a cell phone.
If someone you love has been the victim of excessive police force or killed, you may have a claim for wrongful death. Contact us at our law office and we will review the facts of your case and help you decide how to proceed.