Samantha Ramsey was a 19-year-old preschool teacher from Kentucky who was killed on April 26 last year when a sheriff's deputy, Tyler Brockman, jumped on the hood of her slow-moving Subaru and fired four times into the vehicle. Brockman avoided any charges, claiming he feared for his life — but a new lawsuit by Ramsey's family tells a very different story of the events that led to Ramsey's death.
Perhaps most shockingly, while toxicology reports showed that Ramsey had used marijuana and had a blood alcohol level of 0.12, according to the lawsuit, Brockman was also on drugs when he shot and killed the young woman.
"Brockman had benzodiazepines in his system while he was on duty and while he was using his duty weapon," the lawsuit states, in the section titled "Facts," adding that "benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat anxiety and panic, among other symptoms."
The suit does not specify which of the several types of benzodiazepines were in Brockman's system, but different versions of the drug go under such brand names as Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Halcion.
UPDATE: An investigation by Cincinnati TV station WCPO showed that at least some of the allegations in the Samatha Ramsey family lawsuit were supported by the officer's own personnel file.
In particular, Deputy Tyler Brockman, who worked night shifts, took the prescription sleep drug Alprazolam, better known as Xanax, on the morning of April 25, following his shift. He shot and killed Ramsey during his following shift that night, which extended into the morning of April 26.
The file also showed that Brockman passed his weapons test just two months before the shooting.
The suit also charges that Brockman had a history of "prior illegal drug use" and admitted selling prescription drugs illegally in 2006 — and that the deputy made "false statements" on his job application.
Ramsey was driving away from an outdoor party with three friends also in her vehicle when, according to the initial police account, Brockman approached Ramsey's car and asked her to stop, presumably to check for intoxication on the part of the driver.
But according to accounts of other passengers in the car, neither Ramsey nor any of the other three in the vehicle noticed Brockman until he leaped onto the hood and started shooting.
Brockman, on the other hand, said that he "knew the operator, Samantha Ramsey, was about to kill him," according to his own statement, written in the third person. He also said that he opened fire into the car only when he "felt the wind picking up on his back, and noticed the car was picking up speed."
At some point, the vehicle ran over Brockman's foot, and he was later treated for bruises. After he shot at Ramsey, the car crashed into a ditch and the three surviving passengers were held at gunpoint by police.
A video taken by a dashboard camera, viewable above, shows the beginning of the incident, but does not show the shooting and does not contain any intelligible audio.
Based on Brockman's account, however, a Kentucky grand jury in November declined to bring charges against the deputy, saying he did nothing wrong by killing the recent high school grad who taught preschool at a Covington, Kentucky, child care center.
But the story told by the lawsuit appears very different from the story told by Brockman. In addition to revealing that Brockman himself was on drugs, the suit says that Ramsey was slowing her car down — not speeding up, as Brockman claimed — when the deputy shot her.
The suit also states that Brockman never had any legal reason to stop the car in the first place.
"At no time did Defendant Brockman have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop the Ramsey's Subaru," the Samantha Ramsey lawsuit says, adding that even if he did, "he could have noted the license plate, radioed the information to nearby officers, instructed them to observe her driving to determine if there was probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop her car. He did not do that."
[Images: Facebook, Boone County Sheriff]