Mother of Dallas Man Shot 16 Times by State Troopers Files Civil Suit

Family suing for unspecified damages and demands a trial by jury

Frank Heinz, NBC 5 News

The mother of Schaston Hodge, a 27-year-old Dallas man fatally shot by two Texas State Troopers in 2019, is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the troopers who killed him, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the city of Dallas.

Shandra Hodge, the victim's mother, said in a lawsuit Tuesday that Texas State Troopers Joshua Engleman and Robert Litvin used excessive force "in the unlawful shooting and killing of Schaston Hodge" and that they violated his 4th Amendment rights.

Engleman and Litvin were working in Dallas after Gov. Greg Abbott's sent the state police into the city to help Dallas police quell an increase in violent crime.

The DPS said two troopers conducting a traffic stop noticed a driver who made a turn without using a turn signal. The troopers attempted to pull the driver over but the driver kept going instead of stopping.

In the dashcam video released by the DPS in January 2020, the driver can be seen pulling into a long driveway and driving into a darkened part of the driveway behind the house.

In the video, a trooper can be seen getting out of his car and running up the driveway, yelling for the driver to show him his hands. Moments later, several gunshots were heard.

Bodycam video released by the DPS showed the interaction and the driver getting out of the vehicle holding a weapon. The driver, later identified as Hodge, fell to the ground after being shot and the gun was visible at his side.

Hodge's autopsy showed he had been shot 16 times, including shots to the head, front and back torso, and both legs.

"They killed my son like he was an animal. They shot my son 16 times, they almost blew his head off," Hodge's mother, Shandra Brackens-Hodge previously said in a statement to The Dallas Morning News.

Lt. Lonny Haschel, a spokesman with the state's Department of Public Safety, said in January 2020 that Texas Rangers investigated and turned a report over to the Dallas County District Attorney's office and a grand jury declined to indict the troopers in the shooting.

"The entire incident, captured on video, was presented to a Dallas County Grand Jury and returned a No Bill," Haschel said in an email, the newspaper reported.

In January 2020, the Texas DPS released bodycam footage showing the shooting, which can be seen below.

The lawsuit filed by the victim's mother does not mention that her son was armed, as the DPS said the video showed, and it said he was trying to comply with the trooper's command to show him his hands. The lawsuit also said Hodge didn't immediately stop for the troopers because he was so close to home and that he arrived there about a minute after the troopers tried to pull him over.

The lawsuit demands a trial by jury and is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary relief.

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