Family files lawsuit in deadly Prichard police shooting

Mobile County

Lawrence Hawkins

PRICHARD, Ala. (WKRG) — The family of a man shot and killed by a Prichard police officer in 2017 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Lawrence Hawkins was shot during a traffic stop on First Avenue in Prichard on November 18, 2017.

Two days after the shooting, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran held a news conference in which he said investigators did not find a weapon at the scene and did not believe Hawkins was armed.

A cellphone, however, was recovered at the scene. Witnesses said Hawkins might have been reaching for his phone when the officer fired. Witnesses also said the officer did not turn on his lights until after the confrontation.

That officer, Johnathan Murphy, is named in the lawsuit, along with the City of Prichard. Donald Hawkins, the brother of Lawrence Hawkins, filed the lawsuit in federal court on November 14.

The lawsuit alleges Officer Murphy did not give verbal warning or commands prior to the shooting. It states “the use of deadly force was unreasonable because there were clearly less than lethal options available.”

The suit also accuses the city of failing to properly train Murphy on the use of deadly force.

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