Father of two shot to death in April 2022 despite presenting no credible threat to the responding officer

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466; barbara@eafocus.com

Southfield, Mich. — June 21, 2023 — A. Vince Colella, personal injury and civil rights attorney and co-founder of Southfield-based Moss & Colella, P.C., announced today that a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family of Frank Robles. Robles, 57 at the time of his death, was shot to death by Roseville Police Officer Chad Lee on April 26, 2022.

Robles, a married father of two and custodian for Roseville Public Schools, was involved in a head-on collision immediately prior to his death at the hand of Officer Lee. His pick-up truck hit a semi-truck head-on on Groesbeck Highway in Roseville. Robles exited the vehicle and stayed in the roadway, dazed and disoriented and carrying a four-inch fishing fillet knife. Within seconds, Officer Lee observed the knife held loosely at Robles side in a passive manner.  Despite no threats to Officer Lee, no evidence of committing a violent crime and no civilians in danger – he fired multiple shots at Robles, who fell to the ground, incapacitated. Officer Lee then fired several more rounds – one of which struck Robles in the head. Robles was taken to St. John Ascension Hospital in Detroit, where he was pronounced dead.

Legal Action:
The lawsuit claims excessive/deadly force; assault and battery; gross negligence; and Monell liability for unconstitutional policies and practices. Colella noted that qualified immunity, a legal doctrine of immunity that shields police officers from civil lawsuits when responsibly performing their duties, does not apply in this case.

“The qualified immunity defense can be readily overcome in this case because Officer Lee violated Mr. Robles’ Constitutional right to be free from an unreasonable use of deadly force,” Colella said. “It has been clearly established in the courts that an officer may not shoot a person who does not pose an immediate threat of harm to the officer or others. Witnesses and clear bodycam video confirm that Robles presented no real danger to Officer Lee. This was a senseless, baseless killing and it’s inconceivable that this officer believed it was lawful to shoot a man in the head after he was clearly incapacitated from the first rounds of gunfire.”

Colella added that police officers have to be fully trained in the use of tasers and use less-lethal options of restraint before resorting to deadly force, especially when the victim has just had a traumatic experience.

“As a community, we cannot tolerate police officers killing people who are suffering from the post-traumatic stress of an automobile accident or other serious incident,” Colella said. “The family demands that the Michigan State Police and the Office of the Attorney General investigate this matter.”

About Moss & Colella
Celebrating more than 25 years, Moss & Colella represents the victims of personal injury, civil rights violations, discrimination, medical malpractice and wrongful death.  The firm is recognized as a leader in complex tort litigation, including excess and deadly force, jail death, sexual abuse and harassment, auto and truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and other severe injury and wrongful death claims. To learn more about the firm and its diverse areas of practice, visit www.mosscolella.com.