Family of Iowa teen killed by police files a lawsuit saying officers should have been better trained

Dec 27, 2023, 3:13 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The family of a 16-year-old who was killed by Des Moines police in December 2022 has filed a lawsuit arguing that the teen never pointed a gun at officers and police should have had better training in de-escalation before the confrontation.

The shooting of Trevontay Jenkins was linked to the Jan. 23 shooting at the Starts Right Here alternative school in Des Moines that left two teenagers dead and the program’s founder injured. Disparaging comments about Jenkins surfaced online following the police shooting, which prosecutors say led Jenkins’ half brother and another teen to kill 16-year-old Rashad Carr and 18-year-old Gionni Dameron.

Jenkins’ sibling, Bravon Tukes, was acquitted this fall of a murder charge after prosecutors accused him of helping planning the school shooting and acting as the getaway driver. Preston Walls was convicted of murder and manslaughter in a separate trial.

The federal lawsuit that Jenkins’ mother, Monica Woods, filed is based partly on body camera video that has never been released to the public. The Des Moines Register reports that the lawsuit says Jenkins never pointed a gun at officers

The Iowa Attorney General’s office determined three officers “acted with legal justification” when they fired more than a dozen times during the confrontation. Officers were dispatched to the home to respond to a domestic dispute and have said they tried unsuccessfully to de-escalate the situation.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Parizek told the newspaper that the city prohibits police from commenting on pending litigation.

The lawsuit says that at one point Jenkins started a conversation with one of the officers while the others kept shouting at him to drop the gun. As part of the exchange, he made comments about one of his other brothers who had been killed in an Arizona shooting the month before and said “I wanna die.”

It says he also told the officers he would put the gun down if they would shut off the lights they were pointing at him.

At one point, the teen looked at his cell phone in his left hand while he began raising the gun toward his head. The lawsuit said the gun was never pointed in the direction of any of the officers, but they opened fire when Jenkins’ arm was parallel to the ground.

The lawsuit says the officers should have had better training in ways to defuse a confrontation and better supervision.

United States News

Associated Press

Rail bridge collapses during Midwest flooding as a heat wave persists across much of the US

Millions of Americans sweated through a scorching weekend as temperatures soared across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest. One person died during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said. From the mid-Atlantic to Maine, across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the West to California, public officials […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

19 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

19 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Family of Iowa teen killed by police files a lawsuit saying officers should have been better trained