Family plans to sue TPD over son's death

- The family of a man who was killed during a Tampa Police drug raid has notified the city they will be filing a lawsuit in the coming months, attorney T.J. Grimaldi said Tuesday.

Grimaldi described, what he considers, "glaring inconsistencies" in the stories told by police in the days and months that followed Jason Westcott's death.

"We have developed and seen what we view to be significant inconsistencies with the way that the police department portrayed this case from the get-go all the way to its conclusion," he said. "We have put the city and the police department on notice that we are going to be filing a lawsuit."

On May 27, 2014, a Tampa Police SWAT team stormed into Westcott's home on West Knollwood Street. Officers said they announced their presence and, when they encountered Westcott in a bedroom, he pointed a gun at them. They shot and killed him.

Police said at the time they thought they were making a big time drug bust. They found a small amount of marijuana. Westcott's roommate said he never heard police bang on the door.

"I knew what they were saying from the moment it happened was a lie," explained Patti Silliman, Westcott's mother.

Some of the details that led to the raid have changed over time.

At first, police said neighbor complaints led to the raid. Then they said the information came from an undercover officer. The story changed a third time when police revealed they used a confidential informant.

Officers said the informant bought small amounts of marijuana from Westcott over the previous months. A spokesperson reiterated that weeks after the incident, calling him a "street-level drug dealer," while standing by the informant's information.

But the confidential informant reportedly admitted he lied to police and said those lies were the reasons police conducted the drug bust.

"Justice needs to be taken care of. Somebody needs to be held accountable for what happened to my son," Silliman said.

The lawsuit, which Grimaldi hopes to file by November, will likely name everyone involved in the raid, including former Police Chief Jane Castor and the officers involved.

A TPD internal affairs investigation concluded the two SWAT officers involved were justified, because they feared for their lives.

Silliman will also be appearing in front of Tampa City Council next week to urge them to form a TPD Citizen Review Board.

"I feel that there definitely needs to be a review board," she added. "There needs to be people out there like myself who will be on that board and say, 'what a minute, you got to hear what she's saying.'"

A Tampa Police spokesperson said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

FOX 13's call to the city attorney has not yet been returned.

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