The father of Joseph Lopez, and his attorneys, Flint Taylor and Ben Elson of the People’s Law Office and Greensboro attorney Graham Holt, have today filed a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against Greensboro police officer Matthew Hamilton, and the City of Greensboro for Hamilton’s fatal shooting of Joseph Lopez on November 21, 2021.
The complaint, which was drafted after attorney Holt obtained a Court order and viewed the GPD body worn camera (BWC) footage of the shooting, alleges that
- without justification, Defendant Hamilton released his police dog into the room where Joseph was sitting.
- The dog unjustifiably attacked Joseph who yelled out in distress
- Seconds later, Defendant Hamilton walked through the door, pulled his handgun from his holster, stepped into the room, and without saying anything, shot Joseph once square in the face with his service handgun
- Joseph died at the scene as a result of the hollow-point gunshot wound.
- Immediately after fatally shooting Joseph Lopez square in the face, Defendant Hamilton exclaimed “Oh s**** . . . f***.”
- Joseph was unarmed, was sitting in a chair approximately 15 feet away from Hamilton, he made no verbal or physical threats to Defendant Hamilton or others, and presented no immediate danger to Defendant Hamilton or others.
- Hamilton and his fellow officers engaged in a cover-up of Hamilton’s shooting which the medical examiner’s investigator nonetheless classified as a “homicide/murder.”
The complaint also names the City of Greensboro on the basis that the GPD had in place several related policies, practices, and customs, including
- An unconstitutional pattern and practice of using excessive and deadly force disproportionately against persons of color;
- Failing to properly discipline GPD officers who engage in excessive and/or deadly use of force and by otherwise publicly covering-up the true nature of these incidents;
- Failing to properly train and supervise GPD officers in the specific areas of use of canines, use of deadly force in circumstances when a citizen is unarmed and presents no danger to himself, the officers involved, or any other person, and in de-escalation tactics.
Chicago attorney Flint Taylor, on behalf of Joseph’s father, called out the GPD and the Guilford County District Attorneys’ Office for their failure to act in response to this egregious police shooting: More than six months after this homicide-murder, It is outrageous that officer Hamilton remains on the police force. He should be fired for unjustifiably taking an innocent man’s life. He should be criminally charged by the District Attorney, and the City of Greensboro should take whatever steps are necessary to make the BWC videos available for the public to see for themselves what happened on November 21, 2021.
To learn more about this case read the Triad City Beat article.