Family of man killed by DeKalb police files lawsuit

Family of man killed by DeKalb police files lawsuit

Posted: Updated:
Sage Happ-Williams was 28 when he was shot and killed by officer during a standoff. Sage Happ-Williams was 28 when he was shot and killed by officer during a standoff.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

The family of a man killed by DeKalb County police officers during a schizophrenic breakdown two years ago is filing a lawsuit against the department.

Sage Happ-Williams was 28 when he was shot and killed by officers during a SWAT standoff on Feb. 25, 2012. His family says he did not have to die, and hopes this lawsuit will force the DeKalb County Police Department to adopt new training protocols.

"Hell -- it's like your heart is ripped out when your child has died," said Sage's mother, Kathy Happ.

Kathy Happ says that's what she's felt every day for the past two years.

"It's got to stop, police are killing mentally ill people all over the country for no reason," Happ said.

At the time he was shot, Sage was suffering a schizophrenic breakdown and was armed with a gun.

"We will not, and do not, believe that he was threatening anyone with any gun," said family attorney Brian Spears.
    
Police later determined the shooting was justified.

"The fact that they claim it was anything other than justified doesn't matter to us," Spears said.

Happ says she arrived with prescription medication that could have helped her son, but says police prevented her from getting it to him. With this lawsuit, she's hoping for change.

"Police shouldn't have to be handling mentally ill people, they need to have special units trained to deal with the mentally ill," Happ said.

Her daughter, Kendra Happ Williams, says police need better training to handle mentally ill people.

"We want DeKalb County -- and hopefully the rest of Atlanta -- to realize that this is an epidemic. That it has to stop," Kendra Happ Williams said.

Spears says the goal of the lawsuit is to force DeKalb County to re-evaluate their training protocols.

"We believe and know that there is training available that could have resulted in an intervention that could have involved not the use of deadly force, but instead would have brought this crisis to an end without the use of firearms," Spears said.

The lawsuit does seek monetary damages but the family's attorney could not give us an idea of how much they're seeking. The DeKalb County Police Department did not respond to FOX 5's request for comment.

  • More Local NewsMore>>

  • Fatal shooting off Venetian Drive SW

    Fatal shooting off Venetian Drive SW

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:27 AM EDT2014-09-02 06:27:29 GMT
    Atlanta police are investigating after a man was fatally shot outside of an abandoned car wash.
    Atlanta police are investigating after a man was fatally shot outside of an abandoned car wash.
  • Burglars pretend to be engaged couple buying a home

    Burglars pretend to be engaged couple buying a home

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:18:05 GMT
    Deputies are asking the public for help to find more homeowners who may have fallen victim to two burglars, pretending to be in the market for a home.The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office says Tyler Michels and Rebecca Weismayer were arrested for burglarizinga 76-year-old man's home. Deputies say the two posed as an engaged couple looking to buy their first home. Detectives tell FOX 5 the homeowner let the suspects in, allowing the two to case his home. The two waited until the homeowner left, ...
    Deputies are asking the public for help to find more homeowners who may have fallen victim to two burglars, pretending to be in the market for a home.The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office says Tyler Michels and Rebecca Weismayer were arrested for burglarizinga 76-year-old man's home. Deputies say the two posed as an engaged couple looking to buy their first home. Detectives tell FOX 5 the homeowner let the suspects in, allowing the two to case his home. The two waited until the homeowner left, ...
  • Savannah police seek leads on 2 weekend killings

    Savannah police seek leads on 2 weekend killings

    Police in Savannah are seeking leads after two men were shot to death over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
    Police in Savannah are seeking leads after two men were shot to death over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
  • Trevor Shirley's storiesMore>>

  • Police search for ATM skimmer

    Police search for ATM skimmer

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:59:34 GMT
    Dunwoody police are searching for a man who they say attached a credit card skimmer to a SunTrust ATM.
    Dunwoody police are searching for a man who they say attached a credit card skimmer to a SunTrust ATM.
  • Daughter saves father’s life in Buford

    Daughter saves father’s life in Buford

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-08-28 01:49:03 GMT
    A Buford man says he owes his life to his little girl. Ernie Baca is alive after a seizure on Sunday and there's a good chance his 5-year-old daughter, Aliyah, is the one to thank.
    A Buford man says he owes his life to his little girl. Ernie Baca is alive after a seizure on Sunday and there's a good chance his 5-year-old daughter, Aliyah, is the one to thank.
  • Gwinnett Co. schools confirm molestation investigation

    Gwinnett Co. schools confirm molestation investigation

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-08-27 02:21:20 GMT
    A mother tells FOX 5 her first grader was molested by an older student at a Gwinnett County elementary school.
    A mother tells FOX 5 her first grader was molested by an older student at a Gwinnett County elementary school.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices