Petal PD officer named in deadly officer-involved shooting lawsuit

Updated: Feb. 11, 2019 at 3:18 PM CST
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PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Court documents show that Aaron Jernigan, Petal Police Department officer, responded to a two-vehicle accident at Leeville Road and Highway 42 around 10 a.m. on June 2, 2017. It goes on to say when Jernigan arrived on scene, he and Marc Davis, of LaPlace, Louisiana, got into a “disagreement” that led to Davis’ death.

Upon arrival of Defendant Jernigan, a disagreement between Defendant Jernigan and Marc Davis developed whereby Defendant Jernigan, under color of law and in the course and scope of his duties, suddenly, unexpectedly, and without warning shot Marc Davis without justification.

Davis, 34, was taken to Forrest General Hospital where he died from his injuries. Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict told WDAM-TV in a previous interview that Davis was shot multiple times.

Upon information and belief, Defendants did not timely summon medical care or permit medical personnel to treat Marc Davis. The delay of medical care to Marc Davis caused Marc Davis extreme physical and emotional pain and suffering wand was a contributing cause of his serious injuries.

A complaint was filed by Yoshanta Albert, widow and mother of Marc Davis’ children, on behalf of their children and as a representative of Davis’ estate in U.S. District Court on June 1. The amended complaint was filed on Oct. 25.

This is a civil action brought by the plaintiffs, Yoshanta Albert, individually and as a representative of the estate of Marc Davis, and on behalf of their minor children, Ava Davis, Marcayle Davis, Amina Davis, Serenity Martin and Leah Davis, (hereinafter referred to as "Plaintiffs) to recover compensatory and punitive damages sustained as a result of the wrongful conduct of the defendants, The City of Petal, Leonard Fuller, in his official capacity as chief of police for the Petal Police Department, and officer Aaron Jernigan, in his official and individual capacity as police officer for the City of Petal (hereinafter referred to as “defendants”), in connection with the defendants’ violations of their rights secured by the Civil Rights Act of and 1871, 42 U.S.C. 1983, and right secured by the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Mississippi Constitution, personal injury laws of this state for personal injury and wrongful death of Marc Davis, use of excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, battery and assault.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation looked into the shooting and concluded that Jernigan acted appropriately, according to City of Petal mayor Hal Marx in a previous interview with WDAM-TV.

“The incident was investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, an outside agency,” said Marx. “They determined our officer acted appropriately given the circumstances. We feel confident that he is not guilty of any wrongdoing.”

The City of Petal and Jernigan responded to the complaint on Nov. 5 stating that it “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6), Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).”

The complaint says that Jernigan “acted reasonably in defense of himself and/or others” as the plaintiff’s (decedent) posed a threat to the safety of Jernigan and/or bystanders.”

WDAM-TV confirmed that Jernigan is still employed with the department. A trial date has been set for Nov. 4 in federal court before District Judge Keith Starrett.

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