Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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USA Student Gil Collar's Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit
By Jessica Gertler


A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Gil Collar's family.

Collar was the former Wetumpka High School wrestler and University of South Alabama student who was shot and killed by a campus police officer in October after police say Collar threatned the officer.

Jere Beasley is one of the lawyers representing the Collar family.

Beasley says his firm is suing Trevis Austin who is the campus officer who shot Collar, the university and campus police Chief Zeke Aull, because Beasley says the officer violated the university's policy by using force without cause.

"We have probably had the most extensive investigation that the firm has ever been involved in," says Beasley.

Beasley says he wanted to be certain that filing suit was the right thing to do.

In October, Collar was shot and killed by Austin.

Authorities say Collar, who was naked and on LSD, threatened Austin. But Beasley says after seeing the surveillance video, Collar was unarmed and never touched Austin.

"He was equipped with a baton and pepper spray. He did not have a tazer, which is really hard to justify, but under the circumstances even a baton or pepper spray would have been adequate," he says.

University policy does not allow campus officers to carry tazers.

CBS 8 News did get in contact with the university. A spokesperson says "it is inappropriate to comment on the law suit since the district attorney's investigation is not complete."

"It's obvious that Gil ingested something. We believe we know what it is, but until the autopsy report comes out, I don't want to speculate. I do feel strongly it was not LSD," says Beasley.

Beasley believes Collar was on something, but would not name what the substance was.
He says it was not synthetic marijuana, and says it's not a drug that causes you to act violently.

The toxicology report is expected to be released in the next month.

"He was not a perfect young fellow, but he was close. He was a good boy," says Beasley.

Beasley says the Collar family is seeking injunctive relief meaning they want university police officers be better trained and equipped to handle emergency situations.

If they do receive any money from this, it will go towards a scholarship fund in Collar's name.

Lawyers say the Collar family does not want the officer to be criminally prosecuted.