According to the Washington Post, Fairfax County (where I reside) has agreed to pay $2 million to the parents of an unarmed man who was shot by one of its officers five years ago. Optometrist Salvatore J. Culosi, 37, (shown left) was shot by SWAT officer Deval V. Bullock. Bullock insisted that his gun accidentally went off and he was not charged in the killing.
Bullock shot Culosi when he came outside without shoes and unarmed to pay $1500 on a bet. Bullock said he ran over to Culosi, who said to him, “Dude, what are you doing?” He then died.
The settlement occurred shortly before a federal trial in the lawsuit filed by Culosi’s parents.
Many questions have been raised over the shooting, including the use of SWAT officers with guns drawn to arrest a man with no criminal record and only suspected of illegal gambling. Bullock said that his car door bumped him and caused the discharge of his .45-caliber pistol. He was given a three week suspension and removed from the SWAT team.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers, however, insisted that they had evidence that Bullock was not next to his car at the time of the shooting based on forensics from their experts.
Culosi’s mother, Anita, expressed her disappointment in the settlement in a note written to her dead son on her blog: “I beg your forgiveness Son,” Anita Culosi wrote Tuesday night, “because I am not able . . . to go the distance. They call it . . . settlement. I call it something else . . . and because of that . . . my heart . . . is not settled . . . and my hope for justice . . . and my promise to you . . . have both been compromised.” She wrote that the prospect of years of legal wrangling, even if the family prevailed at trial, had convinced them to end the case.”
Source: Washington Post