SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side has learned that the family of Corey Jason Achstein has filed an $8 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against Suffolk Police Officer James Babor.
“This is one of the worst cases I’ve seen,” says Achstein family attorney Sonny Stallings. Stallings added that Babor’s own body camera shows how unnecessary the force was.
Babor shot Achstein in his back as he sat near the intersection of Causey and Virginia Avenues on December 28, 2015.
In the suit Attorney Sonny Stallings writes:
As Corey Achstein sat up to avoid being run over by the approaching police vehicle, Officer Babor shot Corey Achstein in the back, killing him. At no time before shooting Corey Achstein did Officer Babor utilize a taser or instruct Officer Abrigo (the other officer on the scene) to utilize a taser to control Corey Achstein without the necessity of deadly force.”
In May, Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson found no criminal wrongdoing. It was stated in his report, “It can be determined that Officer Babor had developed probable cause and reasonable belief that Achstein was a deadly threat.”
Stallings says, “The officer told him to get down on his knees, but he had just had knee surgery, and his knee cap had been removed. He couldn’t get on his knees, so he did the next best thing, he laid on the ground in the middle of the street complying with his arms out.”
In Babor’s body camera video you see Corey sit up when the headlights are coming his way.
“At this point another police car is approaching. The lights and sirens are on, and he did what anyone would do. He sat up, so the policeman car would see him, and not run over him. Apparently, Officer Babor thought this was a threatening move, so he pulled out his gun, pulled the trigger, and shot him,” says Stallings.
The civil lawsuit reads, “At no time during interaction with Corey Achstein and before shooting…did Officer Babor observe a gun or an object which appeared to be a weapon.”
Another civil lawsuit passage reads:
“At no time…did Officer Babor release the trained police dog which he had under his personal control in order to control Achstein without the necessity of deadly force.” Stallings adds, one he could have let the dog go, two he could have had the taser out. Instead of his firearm, why didn’t do any of the other things. I don’t know, or he could have waited and seen if my client was going to stand up. He didn’t even stand up, he was sitting on his butt when he was shot in his back.”
Ferguson made it clear in his report he was passing judgment only on the criminal liability of Officer Babor and not the civil liability. This is a civil case that was filed Monday.