Federal civil rights lawsuit claims Pueblo County deputies killed unarmed, cooperative man

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New information about a lawsuit filed against the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office. Richard Ward, died during an incident involving deputies outside a local school on Feb. 22, 2022. This fall, the 10th Judicial District’s Attorney ruled the shooting justified.

Ward’s family filed a lawsuit for wrongful death at the federal courthouse in Denver on Tuesday. They say they want accountability for the deputies involved.

On Feb. 22, 2022 Pueblo County Deputies arrived at Liberty Point International Middle School after receiving a call about a suspicious person.

That person was 33-year-old Richard Ward.

According to a report by the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Ward was seen trying to open vehicle doors before returning to his mom’s car.

Minutes later, Ward was shot and killed following a struggle with deputies.

At a news conference the day after the shooting, now Sheriff David Lucero, a deputy chief at the time, told 11News the suspect tried to disarm the deputy.

“The person jumped out of the vehicle and had immediate contact with our deputies,” said David Lucero, the current sheriff for Pueblo County, during a Feb. 23, 2022 press conference.

In their lawsuit, attorneys for Ward’s family believe deputies escalated the encounter and took him to the ground without warning.

“He immediately took to the cameras and microphones to tell the public falsely that Richard had jumped out of the vehicle at the officers and had provoked the fight. If you look at the body cam, you can see that obviously is false,” said Darrold Killmer, the family’s civil rights laywer.

Ward’s mom, Kristy Stamp, was in the car the entire time.

“I can’t find the words. I can’t explain. It’s shattered this entire family,” said Kristy Stamp, Richard’s mother.

“I want justice and accountability for my family and for my brother,” said Eddy Ward, Richard’s brother.

11News did request comment on the lawsuit from the sheriff’s office. They did not respond to that, however they did tell me that five of the six deputies are still employed with the office. One left for another position.

The family is asking for the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to revoke two of the deputies certifications, as well as money for damages and legal fees.

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