Family of Immokalee man killed by deputies announce federal lawsuit against CCSO

Published: August 11, 2022 10:39 AM EDT
Updated: August 11, 2022 6:11 PM EDT

The family of a 37-year-old Immokalee man that was killed by Collier County Sheriff’s deputies announced a federal lawsuit against the sheriff’s office Thursday.

The family of Nicolas Morales said they are suing the department for the use of excessive force and a culture of violence.

Morales was killed on September 17, 2020, by deputies who responded to reports of a disturbance and a man with a shovel. They found Morales with the shovel and garden shears.

Deputies shot Morales after they said he came toward them with the shears and said they were unsure if the shears were a gun.

“We just want justice that’s all we just want I’m begging for justice, and I hope justice comes to us, and I’m thankful for this lawsuit being into this court, and I want to thank everybody for supporting us,” said Morales’s son Nicolas Morales Jr.

Nicholas morales
Nicholas morales Credit: WINK NEWS

Thursday afternoon, Morales’ family, friends, and supporters gathered outside the Fort Myers Federal Courthouse to announce the lawsuit.

WINK News got a copy of the 78-page lawsuit. It states Morales was in part, “In the middle of a mental health crisis and who was not threatening anyone.”

“We don’t think he had a weapon in his hand. He had a gardening tool that appears in his hand, it doesn’t appear that he was using it in a threatening manner to us. And so we disagree with the characterization of that as deadly force,” said Chris Lomax, an attorney for the family.

The lawsuit goes on to add that deputies didn’t try to deescalate the situation or use less lethal force.

“We just disagree with the use of force, it was disproportionate, it was unnecessary. And we intend to prove all of that in a court of law,” said Lomax.

You can watch the announcement in the player below or by clicking here.