Suit claims excessive use of force, seeks $1 million+ for civil rights violations
ROCKFORD – The mother of the driver shot and killed Friday during a traffic stop in Rock Falls on Tuesday sued the city and the unidentified officer in federal court, claiming the officer's "wrongful use of deadly force" violated her son's civil rights.
Nathaniel T. "Nate" Edwards, 43, of Sterling, was shot several times in the back and killed around 7:45 p.m. Friday in the driveway of a Rock Falls home after a police pursuit.
Investigators say Edwards at first refused to stop the vehicle, then when he did stop, did not respond to verbal commands to get out, and instead put the car in reverse and accelerated toward the officer who shot him several times.
The suit, filed on behalf of estate administrator Alfredia Edwards of Chicago claims the shooting was "intentional willful and wanton" "unprovoked," "unjustified," "excessive and unreasonable," and that the use of deadly force violated Edwards' Fourth and 14th Amendment rights.
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure. The 14th provides equal protection under the law for all citizens; it has been interpreted to mean regardless of race, sex, religion, etc.
In this case, Edwards is black; the officer, a 10-year veteran of the force whom investigators are declining to identify, is white.