MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A lawyer for a woman whose son died during a shootout with police wants evidence gathered by police that day – including footage from her client’s home surveillance system.
ChaLea Tisdale, who represents Georgette Sons, told FOX10 News that police confiscated the footage after the shooting on Feb. 4. A court filing also seeks an order directing the city to turn over ballistic reports, crime scene photos and video, as well as to allow Tisdale to review testimony from any witness she does not know about.
The shootout left Sons wounded in the foot and her son, Treyh Webster, dead.
“Frankly I think they should give us the entirety of the fruits of their investigation. I mean we have a dead child,” Tisdale said. “We have a woman who was shot in the foot, who is never going to be able to walk the same again.”
Tisdale maintains the order would preserve evidence that she cannot obtain from any other source. It is a prelude to a possible wrongful-death lawsuit against the police officer who fatally shot Treyh Webster.
City officials declined to comment. But in a response filed in Mobile County Circuit Court, City Attorney Ricardo Woods argues Sons is not entitled to the evidence. He cites two state Supreme Court cases restricting this kind of legal action to preserving evidence and maintains it is “not a conduit for potential litigants to evaluate claims.”
Woods wrote that there is no significant risk that the evidence will be lost or destroyed. If and when Sons files a lawsuit, the city court filing argues, she can get access to the evidence then.
The shooting took place early in the morning when the Mobile Police Department SWAT team entered a house on East Lakeview Drive to arrest Webster and his brother, Tyhre Webster, on charges of intimidating a witness.
Police officials have said Tyhre Webster gave himself up but that Treyh Webster did not and came out of a back room firing. That’s when Officer Daniel McCarthy returned fire and fatally injured the 18-year-old, according to authorities.
But Sons disputes the official account. Tisdale said the evidence she is seeking would help establish what happened, although she added that a lawsuit is not certain.
“We’re investigating it for sure,” she said.
Tisdale’s court filing notes that she hired a reconstruction expert who needs further information to complete his assessment of the scene, including bullet trajectories, distances and Webster’s possible position when the bullet struck him.
“They have taken her surveillance equipment,” Tisdale told FOX10 News. “They have taken her cell phones. There’s questions that we have in reference to the trajectory of bullets inside the home things; such as that. And they’ve put these officers back to work. They’ve said that they’ve cleared them. So why shouldn’t we be entitled to have that information?”
But Woods, in his written response, argues that the request is “nearly identical to the scenarios rejected by the Alabama Supreme Court.” He wrote that that one case Tisdale cites in her filing has been overturned.
“Here, the Petitioner has failed to present any evidence or offer any argument as to how a failure or delay of justice may occur if the requested pre-suit discover is not allowed,” it states.
Mobile County Circuit Judge Brandy Hambright will hear arguments on April 16.
Tyhre Webster, meanwhile, remains jailed on the witness intimidation charge. Prosecutors allege and his now-deceased brother tried to coerce the victim of a robbery committed by Treyh Webster. They allege Treyh Webster fired five shots into the air.
The criminal case against Tyhre awaits action by a grand jury.