N.C. city might not pay for legal representation for 2 officers being civilly sued

A judge has refused to release the BWC of the shooting, which was deemed justified, leading the city council to indicate it would not pay for legal representation

By Sarah Roebuck

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Two Fayetteville police officers are being sued in a fatal shooting, but the city indicated it won't pay for their legal representation, the Fayetteville Observer reports

The Fayetteville City Council indicated Monday it is not inclined to pay for legal representation because it has not reviewed body-worn camera video from the shooting. 

The vote came up during a work session when a council member introduced a motion to hold a public vote on whether the city would fund the legal representation of Fayetteville Police Officer Zacharius Borom and Sgt. Timothy Rugg.

The shooting happened when Borom shot and killed Jada Johnson, 22, after Rugg tackled her during a mental health crisis.

A state investigation found the shooting was justified and no criminal charges will be filed; however, Johnson's family filed a federal lawsuit in April against  Borom, Rugg and the city of Fayetteville.

A city ordinance states city employees can request legal representation and the city's governing body can pay for an employee's representation if the act leading to the lawsuit was within the scope of their job.

Councilwoman Kathy Jensen said in the interest of transparency, she was requesting a public vote on whether the city would finance a defense for the officers in the civil case. She said the issue was timely because the officers needed to know if the city would pay for their representation before finding alternative legal representation. 

“They have respectfully requested that the city of Fayetteville provide legal representation to defend the alleged claims,” Jensen said. “I am asking for this to be put on the agenda for June 12.”

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