Family of Luke Stewart Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

Oct 9, 2017

The family of Luke Stewart and their attorney address the media after filing their civil rights lawsuit in federal court.
Credit MATT RICHMOND / WCPN

The family of a 23-year-old man fatally shot by Euclid police in March has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, police department and the two officers involved. The family is seeking both damages and reforms at the Euclid Police Department.

Lawyers for Luke Stewart filed the lawsuit in Northern District Court on Monday. They allege that Euclid police officer Matthew Rhodes used unjustified force when he shot Stewart five times on the morning of March 13.

Sarah Gelsomino is a lawyer for Stewart’s family. She says the lawsuit is also meant to show a pattern of excessive force at the Euclid Police Department.  “We’ll have an o pportunity to receive discovery from lots of supervisors and trainers about policies and training, curriculum, how officers are disciplined, how civilian complaints are handled.”

In the March incident, Rhodes and his partner, Louis Catalani, were responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle. They found Stewart was in the car, idling on a residential street. Stewart began driving away when the officers arrived. Officer Rhodes got in the car, where he shot Stewart, who was unarmed. In August, a grand jury declined to charge Rhodes. Also in August, cell phone video showed another Euclid officer violently arresting a black motorist who did not appear to be resisting.