WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – West Valley City may not be looking for trouble but it's found it. The family of Danielle Willard, shot and killed by West Valley police, are filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
For months the family of the late 21 year old Danielle Willard has been waiting for answers.
"Why did they pull the gun, why did they feel any kind of threat with her," said Melissa Kennedy, mother of Danielle Willard.
Back in November, officers from West Valley's Neighborhood Narcotics Unit, now facing allegations of corruption, shot Willard in an apartment complex parking lot. To date, police have only released limited information about what led to the shooting. Right now the Salt Lake Co. District Attorney is investigating Willard's death to determine if officers were justified. But so far there's been no decision. The family doesn't want to wait anymore.
Wednesday their attorney filed a lawsuit against West Valley City, the officers involved and the former police chief. It claims officers unjustly murdered Willard. The family has suffered severe emotional trauma. They want West Valley to pay.
Reporter Brian Carlson talked to West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle about the lawsuit. At first Pyle wouldn't discuss it.
"So far as any specific comments, statements that were made within the filing itself i really can't comment," said Wayne Pyle, West Valley City Manager.
But as Carlson and Pyle talked he mentioned the Willard case has changed the way the city looks at officer involved shootings.
"I don't know that specifically we've instituted formally any changes yet but i know we're looking at it. I'm in consultation with the chiefs and the department and we'll be doing that," said Pyle.
Regardless of changes now, the city is being sued. And at this point, the city manager isn't saying how it plans to settle the dispute. As for family, if the city is forced to pay them damages, it may still never be enough.
"My daughter, in my mind, was murdered," said Kennedy.
As of Thursday evening, it's unclear when the family is taking the city to court. Calls to the family's attorney were not immediately returned.
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson