The mother of a 31-year-old man killed by Las Vegas police in a hospital emergency room has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Metro.
Cody Leighland O’Bryan, 31, was killed in September 2017 after a Metropolitan Police Department officer shot him in the head at University Medical Center.
The lawsuit, which claims excessive force and civil rights violations, states that O’Bryan suffered from mental health issues at the time he was shot by Thomas Rybacki, a 35-year-old officer who has served on the force since 2014.
O’Bryan’s mother, Deborah Chilcote, of South Dakota, lodged a civil complaint in federal court Tuesday, claiming that Metro failed to “properly train its officers on how to recognize and respond to an arrestee or prisoner armed with a non-deadly weapon exhibiting symptoms of mental confusion and mental disorders.”
The lawsuit continues: “Metro’s excessive force policies were deficient and a comprehensive revision was required.”
A police spokesman said the department would not comment on pending litigation.
After the shooting, Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo called it “unlike any other that we’ve had,” saying the incident was the first of its kind inside a hospital.
A little less than a year after O’Bryan died, the Clark County district attorney’s office found that the actions of police were “legally justified and reasonable.”
O’Bryan called 911 on Sept. 25, 2017, and told dispatchers that he wanted to “blast it out” with police. Responding officers found him passed out on the ground near Charleston Boulevard and Palmhurst Drive. Police said O’Bryan had an outstanding warrant at the time.
He was too intoxicated to go through booking at the county jail, according to police, and he was taken to UMC, where he underwent a medical evaluation.
A corrections officer from the jail met a police officer at the hospital room, where O’Bryan was handcuffed to a bed, according to the lawsuit.
“Cody eventually became more coherent as the alcohol began to wear off,” the lawsuit states.
When the two officers left the room, the corrections officer left behind a bag containing a stun gun, authorities said after the shooting.
A nurse and security guard then entered the hospital room, and O’Bryan pointed the stun gun at them, according to police. When the guard and nurse ran out of the room, the police officer entered.
O’Bryan turned his focus to the officer.
“Cody was unable to discharge the Taser because the safety was on and he apparently did not know how to properly turn it off,” the lawsuit alleges.
Rybacki told O’Bryan to “put the Taser down,” according to the lawsuit, before “almost immediately” firing a shot that struck O’Bryan in the head, killing him.
“Metro did not adequately train its officers on how to properly supervise arrestees or prisoners under their control at hospitals,” the lawsuit alleges.
Fasulo later said: “There will never be another duty bag placed in a room with a prisoner at the hospital.”
The lawsuit also states that O’Bryan was a “compassionate son who loved his mother and loved talking and communicating with her as much as possible.”