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Jury trial begins in Brian Babb wrongful death lawsuit

Babb, a Eugene war veteran with physical and mental health issues, was shot to death by police in 2015.

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 2:10 PM
Updated: Feb 18, 2020 6:26 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – A jury trial began Tuesday into the alleged wrongful death of Brian Babb, who was killed by Eugene police in March 2015.

Babb was an Afghanistan war veteran with physical and mental health issues.

His family is seeking $7.5 million from the city of Eugene due to what they believe was an unreasonable use of deadly force.

"Day one going into the trial has been a long, long awaited time," Stephanie Babb, his sister, said. "Being there for my family and being supportive of them is really what's important right now."

According to the lawsuit Babb called his therapist, telling her he had fired his weapon into the floor to “see how it sounded.” She told him to unload it and store it in his truck. Fearing Babb was in a crisis, she called 911.

In the response that followed the situation escalated and a Eugene officer shot and killed Babb, who had reportedly opened his front door and pointed a rifle at the officer.

"His absence is felt every single day," Babb said. "It doesn't go away. It just doesn't. There's no grieving. We didn't get the grieving process."

The lawsuit claims the killing was wrongful and says that the therapist had only asked for a welfare check.

Among the defendants are officers who were involved in the incident, the City of Eugene, and 911 dispatch employees.

"We don't forget," Babb said. "We have this every day, and we live with this every day."

An eight-member jury was selected, and opening statements began today.

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