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Lawsuit claims teen shot by police was not armed

The Sanders family has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Austin and the police officer who fatally shot 18 year-old Nathaniel Sanders, II in the parking lot of the Walnut Creek Apartments in East Austin last month.

"We're looking for the truth to be told," says father Nathaniel Sanders, Sr. He and his family joined Attorney Adam Loewy in holding a press conference in the attorney's office in the Frost Bank Tower.

"We would like to know," says Sanders "how did our son go from being asleep in a car to shot dead?"

Specifically named in the wrongful death lawsuit is Officer Leonardo Quintana, who police administrators say fired on Sanders because he feared for his safety. APD officials say that Officer Quintana saw Sanders reach for a gun, something Loewy says eyewitnesses dispute.

"Eye witness testimony is going to dispute the allegation that there was a weapon," says Loewy. "To this day, I have not seen any evidence that there was a weapon."

The lawsuit charges that Officer Quintana used excessive force and violated Sanders' constitutional rights. The suit also charges that Quintana did not follow police procedures by failing to turn on his lights when he approached the Mercedes SUV Sanders was in the back seat of.

KLBJ's Ryan Poppe spoke with the Sanders' attorney Adam Loewy

You can click here for a copy of the lawsuit.
Austin City Manager Marc Ott has released the following written statement:

The City of Austin remains committed to the thorough investigation of the events of May 11. We are dedicated to bringing the situation to a resolution and will share appropriate information with the public as it is available.

The action filed today is a separate matter from the ongoing investigations and will be handled appropriately through our legal channels. This is an unfortunate and emotional issue for everyone involved, but the lawsuit does not change the way the City, the Police Department or external legal agencies will investigate the case.

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