STUART, Fla., Nov. 16 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — Attorney Lorenzo Williams, partner in the Florida-based law firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis,
McManus, Watson and Sperando P.L., filed a wrongful death lawsuit
(case # 0522466CA20) in the case of 16-year-old Denzel Graham. Graham was
gunned down on Thanksgiving Day on the steps of his family’s North Miami
The incident occurred on November 27, 2003 when Graham, a high school
sophomore, was conversing with a group of children who also lived in the
apartment building. Officer Reyneri Hernandez of the North Miami Beach Police
Department stepped from behind a wall and shot Graham in the back of the right
shoulder while the front of his body was turned away from the officer, with
his hands extended away from the officer and up in the surrendering position.
Officer Hernandez fatally shot Graham without probable cause, provocation or
justification after mistaking an unloaded toy BB pistol for a loaded weapon.
An investigation by the Gary law firm showed that prior to being shot,
Graham notified Officer Hernandez that his toy BB pistol was not real. The
investigation also shows that the toy gun was never aimed at Officer
Hernandez. Furthermore, Graham obeyed all orders given by Officer Hernandez
and did not attempt to flee or resist arrest. Graham posed no physical threat
to Officer Hernandez and even went as far as to raise his arms to a surrender
Despite the forensic, physical and medical evidence that Graham was shot
in the back as described above, the North Miami Beach Police Department and
Officer Hernandez conducted a re-enactment video of the shooting approximately
three months later on February 13, 2004, which purports to show Graham being
shot in the chest as he was pointing the gun directly at Officer Hernandez.
However, eyewitnesses at the scene testified that Graham was not pointing the
BB pistol at Hernandez and in fact raised his hands to surrender prior to
being shot. Despite the uncontroverted forensic, physical and medical
evidence and eyewitness testimony, the North Miami Beach Police Department
took no disciplinary actions against Officer Hernandez.
Attorney Lorenzo Williams and the law firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti are
also taking direct aim at Daisy Manufacturing Company, the maker of the BB
pistol. Daisy Manufacturing has been joined as a defendant in this wrongful
death lawsuit for the negligent design and manufacturing of the BB pistol and
for continually marketing the BB pistol knowing that its realistic appearance
places the user in great danger.
Investigation has revealed that a serious national epidemic exists of
children mistakenly being shot by law enforcement officers while in possession
of BB guns that look like real firearms. Recently, law enforcement chiefs in
Miami-Dade County held a press conference to decry this very problem wherein
overly realistic looking BB guns have caused children to be shot by officers
who happen upon them. The guns are nearly impossible to distinguish from real
firearms, yet are deliberately manufactured to look real in order to increase
sales and are marketed directly to children by manufacturers. Miami-Dade
County law enforcement agencies have joined other police agencies in demanding
that the toy gun industry change its business practices in order to protect
innocent juvenile victims.
Williams and his team plan to fight for justice on behalf of Denzel Graham
and his family to ensure that such incidents stop occurring. In addition,
Williams hopes to develop a plan whereby police officers receive proper and
adequate training. Graham is survived by his mother Sylvia Smith, his father
Donald Graham and a host of family and friends.
“There is no justification for shooting a 16-year-old child in the back,”
commented Williams. “His hands were in plain sight and he posed no danger
whatsoever. Denzel died prematurely and unnecessarily and we will not sit by
idly and watch this happen time and time again in our communities,” continued
The law firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, McManus, Watson
and Sperando is no stranger to seeking justice. They are noted for winning a
$240 million jury verdict against the Walt Disney Corporation for their
clients who alleged Disney stole their idea for a sports theme park. In 2001,
a jury awarded the Gary law firm a $139.6 million verdict for the Maris
Distributing Company against Anheuser Busch. In addition, they were given a
half-billion dollar verdict in Jackson, Mississippi against the Loewen Group,
a large Canadian funeral home chain.
Web Site: http://www.williegary.com