Wife files lawsuit against Atrium, Monroe police after husband killed in shooting

The wife of a man who was shot and killed by police on Feb. 11. has filed a lawsuit against a...
The wife of a man who was shot and killed by police on Feb. 11. has filed a lawsuit against a doctor, officers, and others in connection with her husband’s death.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 3:33 PM EDT
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MONROE, Ohio (WXIX) - The wife of a man who was shot and killed by police on Feb. 11. has filed a lawsuit against a doctor, officers, and others in connection with her husband’s death.

The lawsuit filed by Dustin Booth’s wife, Brandi, claims medical malpractice, civil rights violations, wrongful death, survivorship and disability action challenges, according to the suit.

At the time of his death, Dustin was experiencing a mental health crisis, which the documents claim was known by the seven members of the Monroe Police Department named in the lawsuit.

During January 2022, Dustin became “manic and irrational,” making statements such as he “was a god,” and the “world would be much better when he is in charge,” the lawsuit reads. Dustin also emphatically stated the earth was flat, Antarctica did not exist and there was a stairway to heaven.

The lawsuit says Dustin tried hard to get his family to believe him.

It was early in the morning of Feb. 1 when Brandi and Dustin’s mom decided they needed to call police to get help for the 35-year-old’s illness, according to the lawsuit.

Officers and a crisis intervention specialist arrived at the Booth’s home and determined Dustin needed to be hospitalized.

From Feb. 1 to Feb. 7, Dustin was under the care of Dr. Jonathan Lazzara, one of the defendants named in the lawsuit, at Atrium Medical Center.

Dustin’s wife and mother allegedly told Atrium personnel that he had been a heavy drinker up until recently when he switched to a cannabis vape pen.

The lawsuit claims Dr. Lazzara and Atrium failed to treat Dustin’s illness or diagnosis him with cannabis use disorder (CUD), “or counsel him on ceasing to utilize the vape pen upon discharge.”

CUD affects about 10% of the 193 million cannabis users worldwide. Cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy and contingency management can substantially reduce cannabis use and cannabis-related problems, but enduring abstinence is not a common outcome, according to Connor, J.P., Stjepanović, D., Le Foll, B. et al. Cannabis use and cannabis use disorder. Nat Rev Dis Primers 7, 16 (2021).

“In fact, when Dustin was discharged, Brandi was told that Atrium could not keep him any longer because he was not a threat to himself or others, and Dustin left without any scheduled follow-up mental health treatment or education on his proper diagnosis,” the lawsuit says.

The 21-page lawsuit claims Brandi was told by Atrium staff to call police again if any further incidents happened with Dustin, that way he could be held for mental health care.

Dustin’s behavior did change post-release, the lawsuit explains. He smashed his wife’s phone, bought a new truck and even drove around the neighborhood trying to give away money on Feb. 11.

Brandi called 911 that day after seeing Dustin’s behavior.

Monroe police said officers got a call from Booth’s wife around 2 p.m. saying he was experiencing a “mental health crisis” and was “a danger to himself and to others.” Police found Dustin pulling into his neighborhood and tried to pull him over.

Dustin continued to his home, got out of the car and went inside without complying, according to police.

Officers tried to contact Dustin, a lawful concealed-carry gun owner, over the next several hours as he remained in the home. Police say Dustin had a gun and that he had access to more weapons. Efforts by crisis negotiators and mental health professionals failed to resolve the situation, according to police.

Eventually, police said they retreated to try and calm the situation as they worked on a new plan.

The lawsuit says during the time police left, they went back to their headquarters to “conspire to arrest Dustin.”

“During this meeting, they [police] developed a plan to execute a high-risk traffic stop of Dustin if and when they could get him to leave the house,” the lawsuit reads.

Dustin eventually left the home with one of his friends who was in contact with police, the lawsuit claims. Police said in February they had no idea was armed, but the lawsuit claims otherwise.

The friend driving the vehicle stopped at the intersection of New Garver Road and OH-63.

Dustin got out of the vehicle and walked away from police with the driver telling officers “don’t fight him, don’t fight him,” the lawsuit reads.

A police K-9 was deployed, but unsuccessful in getting Dustin to the ground. Then one of the officers went “hands-on” with Dustin despite knowing the 35-year-old was experiencing a mental health crisis, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Dustin can be heard on the officer’s bodycam saying, “listen to me, I don’t want to hurt nobody.”

Dustin was then thrown to the ground, and the force used by the officer “was excessive and used in the absence of any reasonable suspicion or probable cause that he had committed any crime.”

When Dustin got up from the ground, he was holding the gun, which both the lawsuit and police concur.

Officers fired their guns, hitting Dustin multiple times.

Before Dustin died, the lawsuit claims he told the officers he loved them.

Raw video: Monroe police bodycam released

All officers involved in the Feb. 11 were placed under administrative leave. On March 30, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said a grand jury chose not to indict the officers.

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