When Jeremi Rainwater, was shot on his front porch by Fort Worth police in December 2015, he claimed a zero tolerance officer shot him in the back.
But that lawsuit was dropped on Tuesday after Rainwater’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
During a deposition an expert witness for the plaintiff “completely changed his mind” about whether Rainwater had been shot in the back as the lawsuit had claimed, said Deputy City Attorney Gerald Pruitt.
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“I think all of the claims were overblown by the plaintiff,” Pruitt said.
The City of Fort Worth also released a statement that said attorneys “discovered a statement in which Rainwater admits that he was indeed shot twice in the front of his body and believed he may have raised the handgun at the officers.
The city’s press release went on to say that Rainwater’s “statement coupled with forensic testing conducted was presented to Rainwater’s attorney on July 20 during the deposition of Rainwater’s expert. When presented with the information, Rainwater’s expert agreed that the evidence showed that Rainwater was shot in the front.”
Rainwater’s attorney, Kervyn Altaffer of Dallas, didn’t return a phone call or email seeking comment. The city’s statement said Rainwater’s lawyer agreed to dismiss the lawsuit at the conclusion of the deposition.
Officers surrounded Rainwater’s home after being told he was involved in shooting up a car with a shotgun at a nearby bar.
Police officers contend Rainwater came out of his home, pointed a black semiautomatic pistol at them and ignored two pleas to drop the gun, according to an affidavit. Police said Rainwater was shot to protect the officers from an immediate threat.
Rainwater contended he never knew police were outside his home. He walked onto his porch to see what was upsetting his dogs. He also claimed his gun was pointed at the ground, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit had claimed police “deliberately fabricated evidence and used it to try and frame and to bring false assault charges” against Rainwater. Those charges were dismissed by a Tarrant County grand jury, records show.
Rainwater, who was out of work for more than a year after the shooting, had sued for actual and punitive damages. At the time his lawsuit was filed, his medical bills were about $448,000. He also said he lost his job as a paralegal and later lost his home in foreclosure because he was unable to work.
The incident began at about 10 p.m. in the parking lot of Dublin Square, a sports bar on the city’s north side. Police were called after Rainwater fired two shotgun blasts at a car owned by his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, an affidavit states. Witnesses told police they saw Rainwater flee on foot.
The girlfriend told police that she knew Rainwater had shot the car because he had just left the bar “very upset.” She also told police that Rainwater had been “violent to her in the past.” She gave the police Rainwater’s address, which was for a home nearby on Friendsway Drive, an affidavit shows.
Officers were establishing a perimeter around the home and had not yet contacted Rainwater when they say he came out his front door and onto the porch. Officer A. Smith immediately illuminated Rainwater with his weapon light and ordered him to drop the gun twice, records show. When he refused, Rainwater was shot.
A search of the home by the police found a 12-gauge shotgun consistent with the one used to shoot the car.