Judge: Boston Police Mass And Cass Wrongful Death Suit Can Go Forward

The outside of Boston Police Headquarters in Roxbury. Photo: WBZ NewsRadio Staff

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Boston federal judge says a wrongful death suit against the Boston Police Department and several officers can go forward — after two of the defendants officers tried to get it dismissed.

The lawsuit was brought by the mother of Shayne Stilphen, a man who was arrested in the South End near Mass and Cass in July 2019, and overdosed in police custody.

Officers arrested Stilphen because he matched the description of someone who allegedly broke into a car.

The original suit argues it should have been obvious to anyone, even someone without training, that Stilphen needed medical help, but officers didn't intervene for hours. The suit also says the man took drugs in police custody, after being searched.

The ACLU has taken an interest in the case, and is representing Stilphen's mother, Lynnel Cox. “Nothing has been the same since he has died. Everyone held in police custody is somebody’s child. Nobody deserves to die like Shayne did, and no family deserves to lose their loved one like we did," Cox said in an ACLU statement.

Federal Judge Richard Stearns said the two officers who brought the motion to dismiss, Paul Bertocchi and Catia Freire, didn't have grounds to dismiss claims in the suit against them.

If nothing changes, the case is scheduled to go to court sometime in 2023.

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