NFL All-Star Shot Dead

February 25, 2003

Demetrius DuBose 1971-1999

February 25, 2003 – In the case of Demetrius DuBose versus City of San Diego, former Notre Dame and Tamba Bay Buccaneer football star Demetrius DuBose was shot in the back by San Diego police 12 times with  five bullets in his back, after hopping over his neighbor’s balcony in a minor incident.

The DuBose family accused the officers of provoking the escalation of the incident, which resulted in DuBose fleeing and then being attacked by officers with their nunchakus. DuBose resisted the beating.

Although a jury ultimately exonerated the officers by the fact that DuBose did not listen carefully enough to their commands to stop resisting, the negative attention from the case had a long lasting impact on the San Diego Police Department.

Ben Pavone: “It was a heart wrenching loss to have a jury find for the police in this case. However, like so many good causes, what at first appears to be defeat ends up as victory with the passage of time. The negative public attention brought on the Department by the local and national media, and our legal team’s effort to deconstruct the underlying policies that caused the escalation, triggered a slow and silent reworking by the Department to give officers more options before resorting to deadly force.

As a result, new policies and tactics were implemented to reduce the escalation and resulting number of fatalities in police encounters. Time has revealed that DuBose’s death was not in vain. We are proud to have championed the martyr of this effort.”.


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