Dorchester woman sues city over injuries from acquaintance's fatal shootout with police

A woman injured during a brief but furious gun battle between a man she was talking to and police has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the city and the police officers involved, alleging she's been left with permanent physical and mental scars because of the "unreasonable and excessive" force used even after the man was down.

Niquel Reid's filed suit this week in US District Court in Boston against 13 police officers involved in an incident on June 14, 2011, when Tyrone Cummings shot a police officer - who, along with other officers returned fire, leaving Cummings with injuries that led to his death a month later.

Cummings, authorities say, had shown up at his girlfriend's apartment on Dunbar Avenue intent on killing her. In her suit, Reid says the girlfriend is her sister and that as Cummings raged in the apartment, she called Reid. Reid said she drove over get her sister and her young daughter.

Her suit says she arrived to see Cummings exiting the building, and the two were talking when police showed up. According to the suit:

The Individual Defendants asked Plaintiff words to the effect of, "what's going on," and "are you okay?" As Plaintiff and the male were simply engaged in normal conversation and Plaintiff had neither been threatened nor had any reason to believe she was in any physical danger, Plaintiff responded that she was fine.

Plaintiff is a law abiding member of the community and had neither committed any crime nor was threatening any person. Further, the officers had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that Plaintiff had committed or was about to commit any crime.

Completely unbeknownst to Plaintiff, however, and to her great shock, terror, and surprise, the male apparently had a handgun in his clothing, which he produced and fired a single shot towards the Individual Defendants.

Notwithstanding that Plaintiff, her sister and the young child – all innocent bystanders -- were at most a few feet away, and that the densely populated neighborhood was beginning to bustle with work and school day activity, defendant Marando and at least one other officer unleashed a barrage of gunfire towards the male, leaving Plaintiff and her family members directly in the line of fire with no means of escape.

Upon information and belief, the officers felled the male almost instantly, striking him multiple times in the chest. Nevertheless, they continued firing in an excessive manner, discharging their weapons at least thirteen (13) times, and, in the process, striking Plaintiff in the left leg as well as piercing a window in the public elementary school a block away.

As the Individual Defendants had left her completely exposed and on her own during and immediately after the shooting, Plaintiff had to scream for someone to come and help her after the shooting ceased. An officer finally came over to her, laid her down on the ground, and fashioned a tourniquet from her shoelace to stem the heavy blood loss, while the other officer stood over her boasting about their shooting of the male.

Reid says that in addition to permanent scars from the entry and exit wounds, she suffered Achilles tendon damage that "has left her with continued physical impairment and a permanent and disfiguring scar several inches in length." She adds she continues to need mental-health treatment to help her deal with "the extreme fear, anxiety, and other emotional effects of the incident."

Reid's suit alleges the shooting violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when the police used "unreasonable and excessive" force that left an innocent bystander with permanent issues.

The Individual Defendants acted in a negligent manner by opening fire and firing their weapon excessively given that Plaintiff and other innocent bystanders were in the immediate zone of danger without means of escape, and by such extreme and outrageous conduct caused Plaintiff extreme emotional distress, anxiety, and fear for her life and the lives of her and sister and young niece, in addition the physical harm she suffered. ...

Upon information and belief, the City breached this duty by failing to properly train and/or supervise the Individual Defendants such that as a direct and proximate result of such failures the Individual Defendants fired their weapons excessively and indiscriminately under the circumstances, on a busy residential street and school zone with no fewer than three innocent bystanders in the immediate zone of danger and failed to ensure the safety of such bystanders prior to the use of lethal force to subdue the suspect; otherwise fired an excessive number of bullets, particularly after the suspect had already been felled; and aimed and/or targeted their weapons so inaccurately or carelessly as to strike Plaintiff and the nearby elementary school.

Reid seeks compensation and punitive damages.



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    PDF icon Reid's complaint0 bytes



    By on

    Unreal. Here's hoping this gets thrown out by a judge with some common sense. Though I doubt that it will

    Did you even read the complaint?

    By on

    Sounds like there was an abundance of unprofessional frat boy behavior going on all around.

    Despite what appears to be a necessary use of force, she is right that the officers should be better trained - and better behaved ... or grow up and not act like they won a videogame, maybe?

    the complaint is only her

    the complaint is only her side of the story, not necessarily what actually happened.

    What would the complaints be if Cummings kept shooting and hit any of the bystanders, any children in the area, passing cars, etc? What if he killed one of the responding officers?

    Sure it's unfortunate that she ended up with what seems to be a non-life-threatening shot, but it also seems pretty unusual that she was "casually" talking to the guy who she was racing over there to protect her sister from. She could just be looking for an easy handout from the city.

    Consider the source..

    By on

    It is utterly disgraceful what a person will do to make a buck these days. Ask these questions;
    1. Were the police called there? 2. Nature of the call? 3. Who fired first? 4. Who was struck first? 5. Did the officers empty their magazines, or stop once the threat was over? 6. Did this victim not state immediately after the shooting that she was struck by Cummings? 7. Did her family (present in vehicle, not on foot) also verify the same? 8. How many actual shots by polce?, ( not 13...those included suspects)., 9. How did the officers shoot the building when the buidling was behind the officers? 10. How many weapons did the shooter have? 11. What drug was he on? 12. How is the officer these days? 13. Will he be filing a suit or criminal charges against this female in the near future for accessory before the fact, with conspiracy to commit murder? Or should that officer and any others there simply turn their cheek and allow ignorance to continue to expose itself? And people wonder why cops feel unappreciated. There is always a Monday night quarterback in the crowd. Be happy all others on scene were saved. At least 7 people could have died that day, including the pregnant mother that placed the call. What a disgrace this woman is.

    You have to understand that

    By on

    You have to understand that the city of Boston will find it cheaper to settle with this individual rather than the total cost of defending the city and its officers. Thus lawsuits in these circumstances are no brainers. Its shameful. I feel for the officers. Having lawyers take years to dissect your actions, When the officers had milliseconds to react as they were suddenly shot from close range.

    You would think

    By on

    That after the 5th or 6th shot they might have had a bit more than "milliseconds" to react. Either that, or maybe they need to learn how to aim.

    You disgusting fucks always come up with some excuse for the police to behave irresponsibly. No wonder they keep doing it.

    Police are supposed to be held to the highest standard. They protect the public good. They are supposed to exemplify that. Not act like a bunch of gangsters themselves.

    Professional Behavior

    By on

    You are forgetting something - these guys work for us.

    We do have every reason to question their behavior, if unprofessional, and hold them accountable given the level of training they receive (that we pay for) and the very high salaries they command (that we pay for) given that the requirments for entry to their profession are relatively low. (i.e. even receptionists seem to have to have a bachelor's degree these days ...)

    I'm sure you would have been a very happy resident of Chile or Argentina back in the day ...

    You can question.....

    But leave it up to the courts and policy makers to decide what is right and wrong.

    Cop or no cop, if you get shot at, you should shoot back. And yea, keep shooting until you are 100% sure that person is dead that was shooting at you. They may be wearing body armor and/or have another weapon. Your regular .40 cal isn't going to stop a person like that.

    No one can train for a situation like this, no one.

    That being said, she was shot in the leg. I thnk the city owes her for medical bills, pain and suffering. Nothing crazy, but she should get something.


    No one can train for a situation like this, no one.

    I think they can at least be trained in appropriate behavior once the dust clears ... like securing the area and checking on bystanders.

    But I'm not buying that "you can't be trained". One would think that training would be very important for the sort of automatic behavior required by quick reactions - much like airline pilots are trained to handle certain situations by practicing wrote maneuvers so they react appropriately without overthinking the situation.


    This lawsuit isn't about how the cops acted. This is about an innocent woman getting shot and trying to get some money for her injuries (which I have no problem with). The lawyer has to add in all the details he can to show that the city should bear some responsibility.

    There are all sorts of regulations on what the police should do before, during, and after a situation like this, and they are trained on it. When a human being is threatened with their life though, and has to make a quick life or death decision, that human being cant be expected to act exactly the way some policy or law tells them to act.

    So you can train for the situation, but you can't train for what type of mindset you will have when put under the stress of a life or death situation. That's all I'm saying.

    The airline pilot can "simulate" a crash landing so they can prepare for it if they actually need to do it, and ideally it would be great if they could practice these dangerous maneuvers. But that kind of "training" isn't really practical. So no. Airline pilots don't practice crash maneuvers, and cops don't practice getting shot at.

    I am all for visualization training though


    By on

    Would defend herself with her bike-pump.

    Totally agree

    By on

    They might not have actually done anything that was in poor judgment or violated a policy, but someone who by all accounts wasn't armed or harming anyone got shot. She's owed something. In private lines of work, we have insurance to cover cases in which we injure someone or damage their property without there being any negligence on our part. The contractor doesn't just say, oops, my ladder slipped and went through your window, sucks to be you since I was using it correctly at the time. They pay for it.

    she was shot in the leg...

    By on

    by Cummings. As she stated while on scene when interviewed, which was also stated by her sister in the vehicle. Just an FYI.

    You Sound Like an Accomplished Shooter

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    I trust you know exactly what it's like to have a gun pointed at you, and that you would react coolly and calmly when for no reason someone starts blasting at you.

    Guess what? You're as bad as Wayne LaPierre. Being shot at is one of the most stressful and chaotic things that can happen to a person in the 21st century first world. Your response is going to reflect that. You're going to fire more than one shot in return and some are going to miss. The abundant research in study after study shows this, but gun nuts and keyboard critics both seem to think that a situation like this can be handled by one shot fired with clinical precision.

    Grow up.

    I know

    By on

    I trained with rifles and pistols when I was younger. I didn't keep up the hobby because it was too much trouble. I know how difficult it is. I don't have the capability to react coolly and calmly if someone started firing at me, and that's one of the reasons I don't carry. Because I would do more harm than good.

    The reason why we venerate police officers and pay them big bucks is that they do a hard job and they are supposed to train and self-sacrifice for the public good.

    They are not supposed to act like a collection of untrained civilians when faced with a dangerous situation. They are not supposed to act like a bunch of gangsters settling a feud.

    They are supposed to be trained professionals who put the safety of the public higher than the safety of themselves.

    And that means not firing indiscriminately into a populated area.


    By on

    All of you liberal moon bats and your responses are mind blowing ... These officers responded to a report of domestic violence .. The pulled up and an argument was already underway .. The deceased then pulled a gun out and shot a police officer ... SHOT A POLICE OFFICER ... From close range .. All officers fearing for their lives discharged their weapons killing the suspect ... It's unfortunate this woman was standing directly next to the suspect but that's the situation these officers were put in . The suspect was there to physically harm or kill his girlfriend with a gun and officers prevented that ... Now this " victim " sees dollar signs and sues the very Officers who prevented her and her sister from being harmed or killed ... Everyone on this website has no sense of reason .. Just another bunch of nut jobs ready to bash cops because this POS woman is filling a lawsuit against the very officers who saved her and her sisters lives.... Unreal

    Thanks, Howie!

    I heard you eating Kowloon while broadcasting yesterday! You should really listen to Sandy when she says not to talk with your mouth full!



    By on

    Did the police ever return your sink after Occupy Boston?

    I agree with the above

    By on

    I agree with the above gunbat. I think the cops should shoot any civilian that gets in the way of a man with a gun ... it's the logical thing to do.

    They did right

    By on

    i live in that area and so do my kids, i feel safe knowing that the public servants are out there willing to lay down their lives for me and my kids. She is full of crap with this lawsuit. they did the right thing and im glad they did because if that IDIOT killed on of my kids i would have killed him. so BRAVO to those who police our streets to make them safe