Rawlins Faces Civil Rights Suit Over Police Shooting

Dec 13, 2017

A still from Rawlins Police Department's dash cam footage of the incident.
Credit Rawlins Police Department

The City of Rawlins is facing a civil rights lawsuit after two of its police officers shot and killed a man in 2015. The suit claims the Rawlins Police Department’s decision not to discipline, retrain, or fire the officers reveals policies that tolerate excessive force.

Police shot and killed John Randall Veach in a Rawlins gas station parking lot when he tried to drive away while being questioned for attempting to sell marijuana. The two officers said they fired their weapons because they feared being killed by Veach’s fleeing vehicle, but the suit alleges dash cam footage shows neither officer faced any risk of being run over.

Qusair Mohamedbhai is an attorney for the plaintiff, which includes Veach’s ex-wife and two children. Mohamedbhai said the use of deadly force is a result of the Rawlins Police Department’s policies.

“The fact that these officers were not in any way disciplined or fired is very revealing of the systemic issues within Rawlins, that this is par for the course, this is A-OK, that officers will shoot through a side window and execute a man for simply selling a little marijuana,” said Mohamedbhai.

The Rawlins Police Department declined Wyoming Public Radio’s request for an interview. The case will be heard in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming.