Family of man fatally shot by police in Englewood last year files wrongful death lawsuit

The family of 22-year-old Bernard Placide, Jr. says that police officers used excessive force during a domestic violence incident.

Matt Trapani and Naomi Yané

Jun 6, 2023, 2:24 AM

Updated 376 days ago


The family of a man shot and killed by Englewood police officers last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
The suit was filed on Monday in federal court. The family of 22-year-old Bernard Placide, Jr. says that police officers used excessive force during a domestic violence incident that should have been handled by a Rapid Response Team.
“When I called, I called for help. I didn’t call for them to come and kill my son,” says Myrlene Laurince, Placide’s mother.
Police body camera video captured the moments before the Sep. 3, 2022 shooting inside Placide’s home.
According to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, when police officers arrived at the scene, three people had been stabbed and Placide had retreated to a bedroom with a knife. Police say Placide wasn’t complying and that Officer Brian Havlicek tased him before Officer Luana Sharpe shot him.
But the family’s attorney refutes these facts and says that no one in the home had been stabbed and only had minor injuries when they attempted to take a small knife away from Placide, who was having a mental breakdown.
“He didn’t know what he was doing that day. He had a breakdown, a mental breakdown that day. That’s why I called them, to help me,” says Laurince.
“At that point, the officers needed to call RRT, that’s their training. Rapid Response Team,” says attorney Eric Kleiner. “They’re trained for it. They have the gear, the equipment, the knowledge and negotiating.”
Activists said they want justice for Placide. They are calling on New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin to give an update on the case and for the federal government to launch an independent investigation into the Englewood Police Department.
“We find that in these cases there’s really no explanation as to what’s going on until the grand jury has reached a verdict and usually in grand jury investigations of police wrongdoings, they return no bill - that is, no indictment,” says Lawrence Hamm, of the People’s Organization for Progress.
Activists also called on the state Legislature to pass the Police Brutality with Subpoena Power bill that allows local municipalities to establish police review boards.
“I’ll always say that and I’m still saying it, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life I called for help,” Laurince says.
It has been alleged that Officer Sharpe was recently promoted. The family is calling for all responding officers to be fired.
Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes says in a statement, “I haven't seen any details of the lawsuit, but I am not permitted to comment on pending litigation. I have been in communication with Mr. Placide's mother and heard the family's concerns. Per state mandate, this investigation is in the hands of the Attorney General. I have personally conveyed to the governor, his counsel, and the attorney general what a difficult situation this is for the entire Englewood community. We are all looking for justice, closure and healing.”

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