Parents file civil suit against WVC police, more in 2019 shooting death of handcuffed man

Local News

The scene outside West Valley City Hall, where an officer reportedly shot and killed a man in handcuffs. (ABC4)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The parents of the man who died while in West Valley City Police custody are now filing a civil rights lawsuit against the officer involved, the city, and the police department. In July, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office revealed the officer involved was justified in the 2019 shooting.

In August 2019, Chad Breinholt was taken into custody after a witness reported he was intoxicated and causing problems at the place of business. West Valley City Police, at the time, said officers responded and contacted Breinholt in front of the business. Officers say they determined that there was evidence that Breinholt was under the influence and that he had been driving a vehicle while in that condition.

Breinholt was taken to the DUI processing room at the West Valley City Police Department, located in the basement of city hall. During the intake process, an altercation took place, authorities say. According to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, Breinholt grabbed one of the officers’ gun and would not let go. One officer – later identified as Sgt. Tyler Longman – then fired his weapon, striking and killing Breinholt.

Just before the shooting, Longman can be heard saying, “You’re about to die, my friend.” DA Gill says his office has determined Sgt. Longman’s use of deadly for was legally justified. He adds his office is unable to meet the threshold to prove Sgt. Longman was in the wrong because the officer was faced with a situation in which his life and the lives of other officers were threatened by Breinholt’s actions.

In the civil lawsuit filed by Breinholt’s parents, they allege the officers involved did not arrange for their son to be taken to a medical or mental health unit despite being told he had taken multiple pills. Instead, he was taken to an intoxilyzer room in the basement of the West Valley City Hall where he remained in a chair, handcuffed, for multiple hours.

“At all material times, all the Involved Officers knew that Chad was delirious, incoherent, intoxicated, overmedicated, unable to think clearly, distressed, suffering serious mental conditions, and suicidal,” the suit reads. It also says involved officers failed to “disclose relevant and necessary information” about Breinholt’s medical condition to paramedics.

Breinholt’s parents are seeking four claims for relief:

  • Violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by all defendants
  • Violations of the Utah Constitution by all defendants
  • Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act by all defendants
  • Wrongful death against two officers involved

They are now seeking damages.

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