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Relatives of central Arkansas teen fatally shot by police file suit, claim unnecessary force

By Brandon Riddle

This article was published July 17, 2017 at 6:03 p.m.


Keagan Schweikle’s parents, Piper Partridge and Dominic Schweikle, speak Friday outside the Saline County Courthouse. Keagan Schweikle’s death was “unnecessary,” his father said.

Relatives of an armed teenager shot and killed by officers with the Benton Police Department last year have filed a lawsuit against the city and employees in law enforcement.

A Monday filing in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas seeks about $75,000 in punitive damages in the death of 17-year-old Keagan Schweikle.

Officer Kyle Ellison fatally shot Schweikle, who was reportedly suicidal and armed with a pistol, after police responded to a disturbance Oct. 17 at the home of Schweikle's mother in the 1200 block of River Oaks Drive in Benton.

Those named as defendants in the lawsuit include the city of Benton, Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane and 20 employees listed as “John Does.”

Schweikle’s family members argue that police subjected the teenager to “excessive force when they unnecessarily shot and killed him, with deliberate indifference, despite [him] posing no threat to anyone but himself.”

The relatives also said officers “failed to even try to subdue [Schweikle] in a proper and non life-threatening manner.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for the loss of Schweikle as well as related funeral expenses and for the “conscious pain, suffering and mental anguish” of the teenager before his death.

Schweikle's mother, Piper Partridge, had been called the morning of Oct. 17 by staff at Harmony Grove High School, who informed her that Schweikle was suspended for having prescription cough medicine, the document states.

Schweikle was picked up later that day at the school by Partridge and taken home, where he exited the vehicle and retrieved a handgun from inside her home, according to the filing.

“I’m going for a walk,” Schweikle reportedly told his mother as he left the house and walked toward a wooded area about a block away.

Partridge, initially unaware that her son had grabbed the handgun, followed Schweikle and pleaded with him to hand over the weapon as he brandished it, the suit states.

That prompted the mother to call authorities.

When they arrived, police said, Schweikle refused to drop a handgun after several commands and was shot.

The plaintiffs, meanwhile, argue that Schweikle “simply began to move the gun away from his head” and was shot three times.

"Keagan never pointed the gun at officers, never discharged the gun, never spoke and never attempted to flee," Schweikle's relatives said in the lawsuit.

In December, Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that a review of the shooting found that Ellison was acting in self-defense.

Ellison, who has been an employee of the Police Department for more than five years, returned to duty in November.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


Comments on: Relatives of central Arkansas teen fatally shot by police file suit, claim unnecessary force

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 total comments

teachercop says... July 17, 2017 at 9:35 p.m.

It is unfortunate, but they will not win one cent.

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DoubleBlind says... July 17, 2017 at 10:48 p.m.

I do hope the family prevails as they are in the right on this. Response to a suicide attempt should not be the same as a response to an external threat. Police either don't understand or can't be bothered to make the very important distinction. Here's hoping cops involved don't just lose their pensions but go to jail for life.

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Testingonetwothree says... July 18, 2017 at 4:50 a.m.

Lets see the video..that should answer the ? ....did he point at the police

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TuckerMax says... July 18, 2017 at 5:26 a.m.

Of course they shot a suicidal man. That's their job, not his.

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