REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) – The family of a man shot and killed by Redwood City police in 2018 is suing the department.
The lawsuit says that officers killed Kyle Hart at his home while he was suffering from a mental health crisis.
Police say they acted in self-defense because hart was armed with a knife.
Hart’s wife says her husband, a former teacher at a school in nearby Palo Alto, suffered from anxiety and was hurting himself before police arrived.
She says she was counting on the police to help de-escalate the situation but instead they came in and killed him.
Now, this lawsuit her way of getting the police to finally make changes in response to mental health issues.
There’s no police bodycam video to show the moments before Redwood City police officers killed Kyle Hart.
Hart’s wife Kristin called the police on December 10, 2018, saying her husband used a knife to cut his arm, neck, and chest.
The lawsuit alleges within seconds of police arriving in their backyard, Kyle was shot and killed.
Announcing the lawsuit Wednesday, Hart says her husband, then a teacher at Frank S. Greene Middle School in Palo Alto had been diagnosed with anxiety and was taking medication but had no history of violent behavior.
She says the officers did not try to help hart before killing him.
The officers involved were cleared of any criminal charges after the district attorney said the killing was justified.
Redwood City police say the officers were acting in self-defense because the use of a taser failed to keep hart from charging at them with the knife.
Hart’s lawyer says this case is another example of how police poorly handle mental health crises.
Hart says over the last two years the city has failed to make changes on policing policies related to mental health calls.
One push, however, has been the use of police body cameras which city officials say are in the process of being deployed.
The city manager would not comment on this lawsuit but did say the city has since partnered with San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery services to establish a pilot program for dealing with people in mental health crises.
The lawsuit seeking unspecified damages.