June shooting leads to wrongful death suit against Elsmere PD

Elsmere officer sued.

ELSMERE, KY (FOX19) - Don Godawa says his son, Michael, was murdered by an Elsmere police officer and he's now filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Michael Godawa was shot and killed on the night of June 23 as he drove his girlfriend's car in the parking lot of the Finish Line Bar and Grill on Dixie Highway.

Police say their Officer David Byrd went to the Finish Line to investigate a report of an intoxicated driver or an underage drinker. While being questioned by Byrd, Godawa reportedly backed over Byrd's patrol bike and then struck the officer while driving out of the parking lot.

Don Godawa says he's not happy with the way police are handling the case.

"I feel that he's not getting a fair trial because they're going to try to charge my son which is deceased, a dead man, for something that I feel that he was done unfair by the law, that I feel they should bring somebody else in to do this investigation," said Godawa.

Officer Byrd is now back on duty after being placed on administrative leave.

The Erlanger Police department's attorney, Jeff Mando, issued the following statement: "It would be premature for me to comment on the allegations in the lawsuit when the Erlanger Police Department's investigation of the incident is not complete, but I am confident that the investigation will show that Michael Godawa presented a clear and present danger to the life of Officer Byrd and that his use of deadly force was justified."

"In addition, the lawsuit contains numerous false statements and inaccuracies leading me to conclude that Plaintiff's counsel failed to fully investigate the claims before he filed suit. As such, Officer Byrd will vigorously defend the suit and pursue all available remedies, including sanctions."

Attorney Eric Deters released an EMT report on Wednesday stating Godawa was shot in the back and argues that Byrd's life was not in clear and present danger as his lawyer claims.

The investigation into the fatal shooting is being conducted by Erlanger police, but the Godawa family says they are not confident the probe will be unbiased. They want an outside agency to investigate the incident.

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