Family of Surprise man killed in officer-involved shooting files suit, cites police body-cam video

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Officer Shaun McGonigle's body-camera video showed Officer Joseph Gruver getting into Derek Adame's car moments before the shooting. (Source: Surprise Police Dept.) Officer Shaun McGonigle's body-camera video showed Officer Joseph Gruver getting into Derek Adame's car moments before the shooting. (Source: Surprise Police Dept.)
McGonigle, gun drawn, approached Adame's wrecked vehicle with Adame inside. (Source: Surprise Police Dept.) McGonigle, gun drawn, approached Adame's wrecked vehicle with Adame inside. (Source: Surprise Police Dept.)
Derek Adame, 20 (Source: Surprise Police Department) Derek Adame, 20 (Source: Surprise Police Department)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Surprise Police Officer Joseph Gruver was placed on standard administrative leave after the shooting but has since returned to work. (Source: Surprise Police Dept.) Surprise Police Officer Joseph Gruver was placed on standard administrative leave after the shooting but has since returned to work. (Source: Surprise Police Dept.)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Two Surprise police officers have until Oct. 23 to respond to a claim filed in federal court regarding a deadly officer-involved shooting last November.

The family of Derek Adame filed a wrongful death suit in August. The suit has since been transferred to federal court.

Adame, 20, was shot and killed by Officer Joseph Gruver shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving.

[ORIGINAL STORY: 20-year-old man dies after officer-involved shooting in Surprise]

The Surprise Police Department last week released Gruver’s body-camera video, as well as that of Officer Shaun McGonigle, who was also on the scene.

The lawyer for Adame’s family says the video conflicts with the report Gruver filed in the wake of the shooting, hence the lawsuit. Adame’s family believes Gruver used excessive force.

The shooting stemmed from a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area of 177th Avenue and Voltaire Street in Surprise.

“Upon arrival, the responding officer made contact with a male subject inside of a white passenger car. During the contact an altercation ensued,” Surprise Police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski said in a news release issued the day of the shooting. “The altercation resulted in the officer discharging his service weapon at least one time.”

Adame then drove for a short distance before colliding with a parked vehicle, Klarkowski said. Adame died at the scene.

Klarkowski released Gruver’s name a couple of days later. Gruver, who was dragged by the moving vehicle for a few seconds, “did sustain some injuries” and was briefly hospitalized. He was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in anytime an officer fires his or her weapon, but has since returned to work.

[RELATED: Surprise police ID officer who shot dead man in suspicious vehicle investigation]

“This was a non-violent stolen license plate call, and the officer jumped into the vehicle and then said he was in danger after entering the vehicle. The video shows this,” Anthony Ramirez, the Adame’s family attorney said. “The family would like an apology from the officer and from the city.”

When taken together, the first-person perspective from Gruver’s body camera and the third-person view from McGonigle’s provide a clear look at what happened that morning.

The video from Gruver’s body-camera – nearly 14 minutes long -- shows him shining his patrol vehicle’s spotlight on Adame’s car, getting out of his squad car, approaching the passenger side of Adame’s car and radioing in that the car was occupied.

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Officer Joseph Gruver's body-cam video (GRAPHIC CONTENT)]

A minute and 15 seconds into the video, Gruver opened the passenger door.

“Surprise police. Let me see your hands,” he said. “Let me see your hands right now.”

“What the hell?” Adame asked.

“Stick your hands up. And do not move,” Gruver said.

“What the hell?” Adame asked again.

“Do not. Move,” Gruver repeated.

Gruver informed dispatch via his radio that he had “one at gunpoint.”

“You keep your hands up. You do not move,” Gruver told Adame. “Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir,” Adame replied.

“I want your hands right on that steering wheel, OK?” Gruver said. “You’re gonna put your hands on the steering wheel. And you’re gonna stay right there.”

“You’re not gonna move,” Gruver said after about 15 seconds of silence. “’Til I figure out what’s goin’ on, you’re gonna stay right there.”

Three minutes and 11 seconds into the video, Gruver reminded Adame to keep his hands up and visible.

“Keep them up,” he yelled a few seconds later.

“I’m not doing anything wrong,” Adame said.

This where things take a turn – 3 minutes and 25 seconds into the video. McGonigle was walking up on the scene, gun drawn, at this point and saw what happened. So did his body camera.

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Officer Shaun McGonigle's body-cam video]

Yelling at Adame to keep his hands up, Gruver climbed into the vehicle and then it began to roll.

“Stop the vehicle!” McGonigle yelled as he made a grab for the open passenger side door.

After what appears to be a brief scuffle, Gruver fired at least twice as the car rolled away from McGonigle.

Adame is heard screaming as Gruver yells “Shots fired! Shots fired!” into his radio.

Three minutes and 33 seconds have elapsed.

Adame’s vehicle sped up, dragging Gruver along a short distance as McGonigle ran behind.

“He’s taking off! Eastbound!” Gruver yelled. “Shots fired! He’s been hit! I think I’m hit, too!”

“He just crashed his car,” Gruver yelled as he runs back to his patrol vehicle. That crash was clearly heard on McGonigle’s video.

“He just collided down the street,” McGonigle informed dispatch as he continued toward the crash scene.

Gruver drove, siren on, to where Adame’s vehicle had hit a truck parked in a driveway. He and McGonigle met up and assessed the situation.

Guns drawn, both officers approached Adame’s car. Gruver radioed the crash location and his condition to dispatch.

“He dragged me behind his vehicle,” Gruver said. “I think I’m code four.” Translation: He was not injured and still actively involved in the situation.

Five minutes and 23 seconds have elapsed.

With McGonigle providing cover, Gruver broke the driver’s side window and pried the door open in an effort to get Adame out of the car.

“He’s passed out. He’s breathing,” McGonigle said as Gruver worked on the door.

“Get some gloves on,” Gruver said. “He’s been hit.”

As he starts to glove up Gruver told McGonigle that Adame was not armed.

“But he took off with me in the car,” he said breathlessly.

Gruver is then told to back off while other officers tried to help Adame. They were not able to save him.

Gruver is walked away from the crash site and then another officer looks him over and discovers that he’s bleeding.

“Hey, man. Just tell me I’m all right. OK?” Gruver said.

“I gotcha,” the other officer replied while putting on gloves to better examine Gruver.

Gruver’s video ends when he is escorted to another vehicle to sit down.

McGonigle’s video is quite a bit more graphic; he was there when Adame was pulled out of his car and then pronounced dead. We opted to not post that portion of his body-cam video.

[RELATED: 2017 officer-involved shootings]

Adame’s family is adamant that Gruver's actions were inappropriate relative to the situation. 

“I used to be a Washington, D.C police officer,” Ramirez said, “and I know the officer's actions would be frowned upon by most departments."

Both Gruver and McGonigle are named in the family’s lawsuit – Gruver for excessive use of force and negligence in shooting Adame and McGonigle because, according to the court filing, he “did nothing to intervene.”

The suit was filed on behalf of Adame's mother, his minor daughter and the mother of that child.