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updated: 9/6/2017 8:51 AM

Mother: Officer who shot and killed son used excessive force

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  • Michael Musson

    Michael Musson

 
 

The mother of a Grayslake man shot and killed last year in an altercation with a Round Lake police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the village of Round Lake and the officer, claiming she used excessive force.

Attorneys for Arona Musson filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It alleges officer Valerie Liss did not have reasonable cause to shoot her son, Michael Musson, during the Sept. 2, 2016, confrontation.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages on claims of excessive force, wrongful death and battery.

Attorneys for Musson did not return a call for comment Tuesday. Their lawsuit alleges Liss "willfully and wantonly (used) unreasonable, excessive, unjustified, and deadly force" against Musson.

"Defendant Liss' acts and omissions ... constituted utter indifference or conscious disregard for the health and safety of (Musson)," the four-page lawsuit states.

Round Lake Village Administrator Steven Shields said the village has not been served the lawsuit and cannot comment.

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim deemed the shooting justified in July, after a 10-month investigation. Investigators interviewed witnesses to determine what occurred before, during and after the shooting, Nerheim said. They also reviewed autopsy reports and recovered physical evidence and police radio transmissions.

According to police, Liss was alone when she responded to numerous complaints about Musson pounding on townhouse doors along the 0-100 block of North MacGillis Drive in Round Lake. One of the callers said Musson was trying to break down a door to enter the home.

Liss found Musson slamming his body into the front door of the house and saw remnants of broken glass in the area, authorities said. She called for backup, police said, but before other officers arrived, Musson grabbed a large piece of broken glass and attacked her.

Musson pinned Liss' arms and hands under her body and "snapped her head back to expose her throat," authorities said. He then made "slicing" motions against her throat, leading her to believe he was trying to cut her throat with the broken glass, officials said.

Liss was able to free herself after a resident distracted Musson, authorities said. She then told Musson to not move, but he rushed forward and she fired on him, authorities said.

"She then, again, ordered Mr. Musson, 'Don't move.' He began to attack her again," according to a report issued by Nerheim in July. "This prompted the additional shots."

Musson was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed he died from multiple gunshots.

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