Victim’s mother files lawsuit

Published 9:58 pm Monday, October 3, 2016

The mother of a man shot by a Suffolk police officer last year has filed an $8-million lawsuit against the officer.

Virginia Walker Kinsey filed the lawsuit Monday. She is the mother of Corey Jason Achstein, 28, who was shot on Dec. 28, 2015, near his home on Causey Avenue.

Officer James Babor fired the deadly shot.

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After dark that evening, Babor responded to a 911 call about a man threatening teens with a gun on Causey Avenue. Babor found Achstein matching the description and ordered him to the ground.

Achstein lay down on his back with his hands out to his sides. But when another police vehicle approached from the opposite direction, Achstein sat up “to avoid being run over by the oncoming police vehicle,” according to the lawsuit.

That was when Babor fired. He struck Achstein once in the back, and Achstein later died at the hospital. The shooting was recorded on Babor’s body camera.

The lawsuit states that Babor never saw a gun or weapon in Achstein’s possession. In fact, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson’s report on the matter, he heard a metallic sound to his left. It later turned out to be the BB gun that Achstein had thrown.

Babor never approached Achstein or directed another officer to do so. He never used his Taser or pepper spray and never released his police dog in an attempt to control Achstein using non-lethal force, the lawsuit states.

“Officer Babor used deadly force upon Corey Achstein under circumstances which were not reasonably necessary under the circumstances of the case,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to state that search warrants filed in the case were simply attempts “to rationalize and excuse the needless and improper use of deadly force by Officer Babor.”

Babor is the only defendant named in the lawsuit. The plaintiff demands a trial by jury.

Court filings also request pieces of information from the defendant, including the names and addresses of eyewitnesses and those with knowledge of events before and after the shooting; operating manuals and training manuals provided to Babor by the Suffolk Police Department; photos and videos of the shooting; and any written notes, statements, journals and other records produced by Babor about the shooting.

In May, Ferguson declined to press charges against Babor. “It can be determined that Officer Babor had developed probable cause and reasonable belief that Achstein was a deadly threat,” Ferguson wrote.

His decision, however, has no bearing on whether Babor can be sued in civil court.