JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A teenager who became permanently disabled in a fatal shooting at a 2018 Raines High School football game is suing Duval County Public Schools and its former police chief, claiming the district failed to succeeded in preventing violence by neglecting to report crimes on campus.
>>> STREAM ACTION NEWS JAX LIVE
“She witnesses a brutal murder and is shot herself,” Khlayah Wright’s attorney Robert Spohrer said. Spohrer says Wright had just turned 16 when she was hit by a stray ball as the football game was ending. He says the team has filed a lawsuit against DCPS police, alleging they failed to provide adequate security for students at the game.
“Khlayah was operated on for her injury, she was declared disabled,” he said. Spohrer says a jury was unable to reach a verdict on Wright’s original complaint in July.
[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]
Then, in August, a statewide grand jury criticized DCPS police for underreporting crimes in schools — to the tune of more than 2,000 alleged crimes going unreported from 2016 to 2019. The report specifically names former Schools Police Chief Michael Edwards, and now, the lawsuit too.
“We now know, through the work of the grand jury, that one of the gang members involved in that fight that culminated in the shooting, was in fact in police custody that night…and Mr. Edwards has ordered that he be released,” Spohrer added.
That’s when Spohrer says the fight continued and spilled into the parking lot, where a man was shot and Wright, as a bystander, was injured. “The school board police not only had a duty to provide protection that night, but they had one of the perpetrators in custody, and he was released,” he said.
[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]
The recently filed lawsuit alleges that DCPS police and Edwards’ underreporting of crimes were part of a “plan to convince taxpayers, state government, and local government that the school police in the Duval County was effective, efficient and fulfilling its responsibilities”.
Spohrer says Wright’s family wants an explanation from Edwards as to why he ordered the release. “We look forward to a trial for Khlayah,” Spohrer said.
Late Tuesday, Action News Jax reached out to DCPS for comment on the matter. We’ll update this story if we get a response.
Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, Click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and Click here to stream Action News Jax live.