The mother of a slain Providence police sergeant has lost her civil-rights and wrongful-death claims against the city. U.S. District Judge Mary M. Lisi dismissed them yesterday, five days after a jury found that Sgt. Cornel Young’s constitutional rights had been violated by a rookie police officer who mistook him for a suspect and shot him in the head.
Lisi ruled “as a matter of law” that even if Leisa E. Young had proved everything her lawyers claimed, she’d lose because the threshhold is so high for holding the city liable. City lawyer Joseph F. Penza Jr. said, “There are no winners in this case. The Youngs lost a son, and the City of Providence lost three good officers.”
Sgt. Young was the son of Maj. Cornel Young Sr., the highest-ranking black officer in the Providence Police Department. “Why have a jury?” Maj. Young asked. “What was the jury for? Obviously, it didn’t mean anything. I hope she [Lisi] sleeps well tonight.”
“All I wanted to do was have my son’s life have meaning,” Leisa Young said. “I tried to go through the system to get justice for my son. Two systems decided I didn’t deserve justice — the Police Department and the court system.” She said, “I don’t know why the system wanted to humiliate me.”