NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A lawsuit claiming that officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department were culpable in a pregnant woman’s suicide is set to go to trial.
The jury trial is scheduled for Dec. 10, 2024, according to court filings. William Campbell Jr., a judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, will preside over the trial.
The lawsuit filed on Oct. 12 last year claims that police “made no efforts to prevent (the woman) from engaging in further acts of self-harm” before she reportedly committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest during a “severe mental health event.”
Police responded to the woman’s home in Bellevue in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, 2021, following reports of a gunshot and domestic disturbance. At the time, the woman was 11 weeks pregnant with her second child.
After wrestling a gun away from the woman, her husband brought her to a neighbor’s house, where he asked them to call police and an ambulance, according to the lawsuit. The woman could be heard screaming, “I just wanted to die, just let me!” as one of the first officers arrived.
The lawsuit claims that police made no efforts to restrain the woman or secure the gun she had used to shoot off her finger earlier in the night. While walking to an ambulance, the woman reportedly ran back to her house, where her husband had told police the gun was located.
She then fatally shot herself in the chest, according to the lawsuit. Lawyers for the woman’s family claim the officer’s “slow pursuit” and failure to restrain her led to the woman’s death.
The lawsuit states that she “had time to trip and stumble at the door to her residence, stabilize, keep going into the house, get to the bedroom where the gun was located, and lock herself in the room without any interference.”
The family’s lawyers further claim that police reports on the incident were “incomplete” and that the Metropolitan Government took “affirmative efforts” to conceal records of the incident by denying access to body camera footage and other records.
Attorneys later obtained the records after writing to the Metropolitan Department of Law.
In a statement provided to News 2, the Metro Department of Law disputed the claims, stating that the lawsuit’s characterization of the events was inaccurate and public records were not intentionally concealed.
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In addition to a jury trial, the woman’s family is seeking $5 million in punitive damages, $2.5 million in compensatory and incidental damages and $300,000 per decent in compensatory and incidental damages regarding claims under the Governmental Tort Liability Act.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.