Family of man shot by Fairbanks Police and Alaska State Troopers files wrongful death lawsuit
The family of a man shot by Fairbanks Police Officers and Alaska State Troopers on Christmas Eve of 2017 has filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful death. In the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the State of Alaska at Fairbanks, Kyle Eyre is named as the Personal Representative for Cody Erye, who was shot by law enforcement.
The lawsuit names the City of Fairbanks, the State of Alaska and six law enforcement officers as defendants in the wrongful death suit. The lawsuit claims that, “The force used against Cody was excessive, unreasonable, unwarranted by the circumstances, and out of proportion with a legitimate law enforcement objective.”
Cody Eyre was shot by law enforcement after his mother, Magdalena, called troopers to pick up Cody for a welfare check, saying he was drinking and had just broken up with his girlfriend. She also told dispatchers that Cody was walking on Farmers Loop Rd with a gun that had one round in it. AST and FPD responded to the area and followed Cody for around a half mile before ultimately shooting him.
According to the lawsuit, troopers first, “received a report that Cody was on Facebook Live stating he was going to commit suicide,” but decided not to respond.
Fairbanks Police Department released an edited video of the interaction with audio and video. In the video Cody can be seen pointing a firearm at his head and saying he is going to kill himself. Law enforcement officers tell Cody approximately 78 times to put his gun down. Retired FPD police chief Erik Jewkes said in a statement in 2018 that, “When Cody turned at them, pointed the gun at them and specifically screamed that they could die right now, the risk became too great and they were forced to act.”
In Oct. of 2018 prosecutors closed their investigation of the incident and decided not to charge any of the officers involved in the shooting.
Cody’s family and supporters have been lobbying for better use of less lethal force and better training for officers to deal with disturbed individuals. In October Cody’s parents spoke at a Fairbanks City Council meeting where FPD was talking about less lethal force.
The lawsuit claims that law enforcement never attempted to contact someone trained to handle situation of people dealing with a metal health crisis -- including metal health counselors, trained negotiators, clergy, or even Cody’s mother who was nearby following law enforcement.
The lawsuit demands a trial by jury and is seeking compensatory, consequential and/or nominal damages as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Cody Eyre’s family is being represented by Choate Law Firm LLC in Juneau. They filed the suit on Dec. 2. They have not responded to request for comment as of publishing time.
Alaska State Troopers said they do not comment on pending litigation, and the City of Fairbanks said they have yet to be served with the lawsuit and cannot comment until their attorney has been served and has a chance to review the lawsuit.