$15 Million Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Marshall Man’s Death
A $15 million wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a 22-year-old Marshall man shot and killed by police last September.
The suit filed Wednesday in federal court on behalf of 22-year-old Andrew Blowers of Marshall, names the defendants as the city of Battle Creek, Battle Creek Police Department Chief Jim Blocker, two Battle Creek Police officers, the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners, Calhoun County Sheriff Steven Hinkley as well as a deputy with the sheriff’s department.
The suit alleges that the Battle Creek police officers and Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputy who opened fire “used unnecessary, excessive, reckless and deadly force.”
In December 2020, Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert said officers were justified for shooting and killing a Blowers following a high-speed chase. Prosecutor Gilbert said the involved officers acted in self-defense when they shot and killed Blowers as he drove his Chevy Trailblazer toward the officers.
The incident happened on September 5, 2020, at 12:15 a.m. when two Battle Creek Police officers in the same patrol car spotted a vehicle swerving into and out of oncoming traffic lanes. Officers said it appeared that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
They attempted to make a stop, but the vehicle sped away. A Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office deputy joined the chase, which ended at Skyline Drive and Logistics Avenue.
Blowers left the roadway and crashed into a wooded area. As officers approached on foot, he suddenly drove towards officers, and all three officers fired on the vehicle. The vehicle crashed into a Battle Creek Police Department vehicle before crashing again in the woods.
Officers and paramedics attempted to give the Blowers first aid, but he died at the scene. The officers were placed on paid administrative leave while Michigan State Police investigated the incident.
After investigating, police believe this was not the first police chase involving Blowers. In July of 2020, a deputy chased a vehicle matching the one Blowers drove during the September 5th incident.
A deputy attempted to make the stop for running a stop sign, and for not using a turn signal or a seat belt. The vehicle fled at speeds of 95 miles per hour. An official with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department said the report indicates that the deputy followed for about a minute and then ended the pursuit. He said deputies realized after the second chase incident that it was likely that Blowers was the driver in that July incident.
The wrongful death lawsuit argued Blowers suffered from a mental disability and was unarmed. The suit alleges the two police officers and deputy were not in harm’s way or that they had the ability to escape Blowers’ moving SUV.