LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Last year, a Metro Police officer shot a woman who was wielding a shovel. Sommer Richards, 35, was shot seven times and survived.
8 News Now spoke with Richard about why she is now suing Metro and the officer who shot her.
Richards and her attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit against former officer Ondre Wills and Metro, a motion that arises out of what Richards asserts was unreasonable and excessive force by Officer Wills.
You may recall the body cam video from the May 2018 incident. Police received a call of a woman in the area of Nellis and Desert Inn, threatening people with a shovel. Officer Wills issued verbal commands for Richards to drop it.
“I didn’t know he was talking to me; at the same time I couldn’t understand what he was saying,” Richards said.
During the course of the incident, the victims moved away from Officer Wills, so Richards began to advance towards the victims still armed with the shovel and acting erratically. Officer Wills fired several rounds from his duty weapon striking Richards.
“She was having what appears to be an episode, but once again she posed no danger to anybody when she was fired upon she was walking away,” said Robert M. Draskovich, Richars’ attorney.
Richards was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with a vehicle, and battery. Metro says that her criminal history includes drug use, but investigators aren’t sure yet if she was under the influence of any drugs that night. They say it is clear that she is mentally unstable.
But Richards’ attorneys say officers are trained to shoot in volleys of three shots, then stop and assess the threat. They say officer wills did not follow policy, so Richards is suing for $7 million. That’s a million dollars per gunshot wound.
As for why Richards had the shovel, she claims she was going to use it for yard work and had no intention to harm anyone. Richards was hospitalized for eight days before she was transported to the Clark County Detention Center, where she spent three months.
8 News Now reached out to Metro about the lawsuit, but they say they are unable to comment on pending litigation.