Defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran will represent the family of a mentally disabled teenager shot and killed last weekend by police in Denver. The Denver Post says that an impassioned group of influential African-American ministers issued a list of demands, including a call for a federal investigation and that the officer who shot 15-year-old Paul Childs be taken off the streets.
“This kid should not be dead,” Cochran told The Associated Press. “We have a lot of witnesses that say this kid posed no threat to any of the officers or family members, so that’s pretty troubling. I’m quite concerned about this case. It’s probably one that needs to be litigated.” Cochran said the shooting raises questions about how police treat people with mental problems.
Officer James Turney, 29, a five-year veteran who fired the fatal shots Saturday, is at the center of the controversy surrounding Paul’s death. Turney’s lawyer said the officer believes he will be cleared of wrongdoing.
Childs was shot Saturday afternoon while holding a knife in the doorway of his mother’s home. He is the fifth person killed by police gunfire this year in Denver. Since 1990, Denver police have shot, on average, about seven people a year, killing an average of three.