CENTERVILLE — The family of a man shot and killed by Centerville police in 2014 has filed a federal civil lawsuit against the city and the officer who fired the fatal shot.
The family contends that a conversation recorded on an officer's body camera proves Vincent John Farrand was unarmed when he was shot in the back and killed by police.
But an attorney for the city says the man was armed and pointed the weapon at the officer before he was shot and killed.
On April 13, 2014, Farrand, 38, was shot and killed by Centerville police officer Jason Reed.
"Defendants' execution of Vincent John Farrand was without justification, unrelated to any legitimate law enforcement purpose, and done purposefully and in reckless disregard of his safety and well-being," Farrand's widow states in her lawsuit.
Molly Farrand's suit contends that her husband was upset with another man for allegedly making advances on her. Vincent Farrand, who was armed with a handgun, started driving to the Bountiful man's home.
However, Farrand apparently changed his mind and returned home just a few minutes later. Molly Farrand contacted police, explaining that officers were no longer needed, according to the lawsuit.
But three officers arrived at the Farrand home a short time later. Molly Farrand went outside to greet the officers but claims she was forcibly led away, the lawsuit states. Her husband then walked outside the house.
"He had a gun in his waistband, which he immediately placed on the ground upon defendant officer Jason Reed's request. Upon Vincent John Farrand's compliance, officer Jason Reed opened fire for no justifiable reason and shot Vincent John Farrand twice in his back. Vincent John Farrand was pronounced dead at the scene after approximately 20 minutes," the lawsuit states.
The suit contends that a conversation was recorded between two other officers on one of the officer's body cameras in which one officer "tells the officer that Vincent John Farrand exited his home with a gun, and that Vincent John Farrand put the gun down before walking away from officer Reed. Vincent John Farrand was shot in the back by officer Reed shortly after putting the gun down."
In 2014, Centerville police said Molly Farrand had also told 911 dispatchers that her husband was suicidal. When the officers arrived at his house, they said Farrand wasn't obeying their commands.
"They were attempting to engage him in a dialogue and asking him to, you know, put the gun down and the officer was basically pleading with him to put the gun down," Paul Child, then the assistant police chief, said in 2014.
Child said Vincent Farrand was holding the gun and had his finger on the trigger. "According to the officer, Vincent then pointed the handgun at the officer," the police statement said.
The shooting was later determined to be legally justified by the Davis County Attorney's Office.
Attorney Heather White, who has been hired as outside counsel for Centerville, said Ferrand did not place the gun on the ground.
“He never put his gun down. In fact, he turned and brought the gun up toward the officer, which is when the officer fired," she said Friday. "And after he went down, the gun was still in his hand. The officer had to kick the gun out of his hand after he was still on the ground.”
White said the use of deadly force was appropriate to protect the officer and others. "We’re confident the evidence we have so far supports the officer’s use of force,” she said.
One of the attorneys representing Farrand in her lawsuit is Mark Geragos, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who also represented the estate of Danielle Willard in its federal civil suit against the West Valley City Police Department and then-detective Shaun Cowley. Cowley killed Willard in a controversial police shooting.
In her lawsuit, Farrand is asking for a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Contributing: Brianna Bodily