Cleveland woman files lawsuit against Kent officers involved in son's shooting death

Posted at 11:34 PM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 09:24:43-04

A Cleveland woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Kent, the Kent Police Department and five individual officers involved in the shooting death of her son, Douglas Yon. 

On December 17, officers were called to a home in the 600 block of Virginia Avenue around 3:46 a.m. for a report of an unwanted man inside a home creating a disturbance. 

The woman who called 911 told police that her cousin, 25-year-old Douglas Yon, was armed with a machete and refused to leave the house. 

“I’m asking my cousin to leave. He wouldn't leave. He's getting his machete. He said if any cop shows up, he's going after them. He will not leave the house,” the caller told dispatch. 

Four officers responding to the scene were met by Yon, who was allegedly wielding the 2-foot long machete, outside the home. 

Police officials said at least one of the officers fired shots to stop the threat. 

According to the lawsuit, Yon exited the residence, “holding the machete at his side and pointed toward the ground.” 

The 911 caller stated that Yon was coming towards police and “won’t stop.” 

The lawsuit claims that officers never issued a verbal warning to Yon to drop the gun. 

The Kent Police Department issued the following statement: 

We know that lawsuits are very common after deadly force incidents.  Independent investigations conducted by the Portage County Prosecutor’s Office and the Portage County Sheriff’s Office have concluded that Kent Police officers acted appropriately.  We continue to stand behind our officers.  

Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee also defended her officers actions at the time. 

“The officers did what they had to do to protect themselves and anyone in the home from harm,” Lee said in a press conference shortly after the incident. 

RELATED | 4 Kent Police officers involved in fatal December shooting return to work

Certified use of force expert Tim Dimoff told reviewed the case for and said the 911 call will play a role in the officers’ defense. 

“The call is going to support the officer’s proper action,” Dimoff said. “Whether it was a gun or a knife was irrelevant.” 

Attorney William Novak, who represents the plaintiff Margaret Peters, told that he would not comment on pending litigation.  

The lawsuit requests punitive damages in excess of $100,000.