GREENWOOD, Ind. — The estate of a woman who died in a shooting at the Greenwood Police Department in March signaled its intention to seek monetary damages.
Lawyers for the family of 49-year-old Monica Vaught filed a tort claim notice naming the City of Greenwood, its mayor, police chief and city council. The claim, filed last month, seeks financial damages for Vaught’s death during a March 29, 2022, incident at the Greenwood Police Department.
Attorneys accused Greenwood police of excessive force and ignoring law enforcement standards.
Officers fired nearly three dozen shots during the encounter, which started when police tried to pull over what appeared to be an intoxicated driver. Police said the driver was Vaught, who led them on a winding path that eventually ended in the parking lot at the Greenwood Police Department Headquarters on Surina Way.
According to surveillance video and body cam footage, Vaught backed into a patrol car, drove erratically through the parking lot and hit a police SUV. She didn’t stop, police said. At one point, officers tried to break her windows.
Officers eventually opened fire after they said Vaught drove her car in their direction. Police said Vaught had high levels of methamphetamine in her body.
The tort claim said Vaught was “unlawfully detained, attacked, seized, fired upon by officers and wrongfully killed.” She was shot 12 times, with seven of the shots hitting her from behind, attorneys said.
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“Attorneys from two separate law firms reviewed raw video footage, photographs, an autopsy report, and other documents in connection with Monica Vaught’s death on March 29, 2022,” according to a statement from attorney Brian Lowe. “Upon review, it was clear that Greenwood Police Department officers used excessive force, failed to follow department policy, and ignored widely accepted law enforcement standards when they wrongfully killed Monica Vaught.”
The Greenwood Police Department released a timeline and edited body camera footage of the incident in May. At the time, Greenwood Police Chief Jason Ison said he wasn’t sure what else officers could’ve done.
The Greenwood Police Department Investigation Division determined officers acted in a lawful manner, as did a review by the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Vaught’s estate is seeking damages in excess of $3 million, according to the tort claim.
“Monica’s friends and family describe her as a beautiful soul and loving mother of three in addition to being a former Greenwood High School valedictorian and Indiana University salutatorian,” Lowe said. “The estate will continue to seek justice for Monica Vaught