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Family of man killed by Fairview officers wants changes

Posted: 5:58 PM, Dec 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-11 19:49:18-05

The two Fairview police officers involved in a shooting that killed a man more than three months ago will not be facing any charges, according to District Attorney General Kim Helper.

On November 5th, the grand jury returned with no indictments against Officers Jamey Meadows and Jordan Whaley after reviewing the investigation from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). 

The family of Chase Sullivan hopes to file a civil lawsuit as they claim the officers made the situation worse instead of deescalating it. 

"What would you do in that incident? If someone was coming into your home, you would be frightened as well. It was not suicide by cop, he didn't want to die," Mary Boer, Sullivan's aunt, told NewsChannel 5.

Sullivan was killed on August 31st at his apartment in Fairview. His relative originally called police after receiving concerning text messages from Sullivan.

The two officers responded to the welfare call but no one was answering the door. The family said they then burst through the door.

The TBI said Sullivan was approaching the officers with a knife. When he refused to drop the weapon after several commands, the situation escalated quickly.

Autopsy revealed Sullivan was shot three times in the back, chest and arm. 

Boer wonders why other options were not used to take control of the situation including the use of tasers.

Sullivan's family also questions the information presented to the grand jury since the officers' body cameras did not capture the incident. One of them was charging in the patrol car while the footage from the second camera was "corrupted."

While the investigation is closed, the family is demanding the protocol should be changed and specific training be provided for police when responding to mental health or suicide prevention deescalation.

"I support the men in blue 100 percent but they need the budget, education and training to protect us
and protect them, that's all what we're asking for," Boer added.

They also want to see the full report from the TBI and even the video. 

The Fairview police chief told NewsChannel 5 that the officers involved have been cleared and are back at work. He could not give plenty of details pertaining to the investigation but said no changes have been made since the shooting.

A law enforcement expert said the use of tasers can be ineffective against a stronger weapon. He added officers are typically trained to shoot the "center mass" area of the body and not the arm or leg to prevent missing the target and miss stopping a threat.