Coffman Law Offices Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Police Shooting of Arthur Walton

Sep 14, 2020

The news cycle in 2020 has thus far been dominated by a number of alarming headlines, one of which has been a group of devastating police-involved incidents. Few will forget the death of George Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes and whose death sparked powerful civil rights protests in virtually every major city across the U.S. The shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police also sparked tensions across the country when it was revealed that three police officers fired more than 25 shots into Taylor’s apartment while she was sleeping. Then, in late August, protestors again set out to voice their frustrations with law enforcement after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin (our coverage of Blake’s shooting can be found HERE).

As we discussed in our firm’s blog on George Floyd’s death and the civil unrest that followed, this pattern of police-involved shootings cannot be attributed solely to “bad apples” on the police force, but rather to a systemic issue across all American police departments. Incidents such as those mentioned above have become an unfortunately common occurrence, and the measures to address this problem must involve substantial changes to police departments’ operations, training, and overall approach to the use of force on civilians. However, on the individual level, the families of these victims cannot be forgotten. These families have lost loved ones, and while no amount of money can make up for this loss, seeking compensation for these families can at the very least help secure the financial futures for the children and families of the victims.

Coffman Law makes it a priority to fight for justice on behalf of these victims and their families, and to that end, our firm continued this mission by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with the police-involved shooting of Arthur J. Walton, Jr. Walton (pictured below), a 33-year-old father of four, was shot and killed by off-duty Melrose Park police officer Vito Migliore in August 2019. Walton is survived by his four children – Deaunt’e Dorsey, Ryan Walton, Raynah Walton, and Trinity Walton – and his mother Constance Carter.

Photo courtesy of ABC7 Chicago

Photo courtesy of ABC7 Chicago

On August 27, 2019, Arthur Walton and his brother Matthew Carter were at 417 W. Lake Street in Maywood when, according to his family, an argument started outside the building. This argument led inside the building, at which point off-duty officer Vito Migliore fired at least six shots at Walton and his brother. Walton was struck in the torso by two of these bullets, and Carter was struck once in the leg. Both men were transported to Loyola University Medical Center, where Walton was pronounced dead at 7:48 P.M. on August 27, 2019. Matthew Carter survived the shooting.

One year from the anniversary of Walton’s death, our firm filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court for Constance Carter, on behalf of her son Arthur Walton. The complaint sets forth claims of wrongful death and survival against the Village of Melrose Park and Vito Migliore. As to Migliore, the complaint emphasizes that he:

  1. Shot Walton without any justification;
  2. Failed to use a less dangerous means of force;
  3. Did not warn Walton before shooting; and
  4. Failed to provide Walton with any medical care after the shots were fired, among other claims

The complaint also notes that Migliore used lethal force on Walton despite the fact that Walton posed no danger or threat of harm to Migliore.

With respect to the Village of Melrose Park, Carter’s complaint claims that the Village failed to properly: (1) train, supervise, and discipline officers who commit acts of excessive force; (2) investigate reports of excessive force; (3) train and supervise officers regarding discharging their weapons; and (4) remove Migliore from the police force in light of his history of excessive force issues. Most notably, a Melrose Park woman sued Migliore, among others, for excessive force following Migliore’s response to a bar fight in 2012.

As further information about Walton’s shooting becomes available throughout the course of this case, we will be sure to update our blog with that news. Information on another of Coffman Law’s high-profile ongoing police shooting cases (i.e., the fatal shooting of Eric Logan by South Bend, Indiana police) can be found HERE.


About Coffman Law Offices, P.C.

Coffman Law is Chicago’s leading personal injury law firm and is committed to providing superb legal representation for people who are suffering from severe personal injuries or are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to negligence or misconduct. Coffman Law is a results-driven law firm focused on ensuring that clients receive the compassion, attention, and consideration that they need to seek adequate compensation for injuries or loss. The firm is led by Owner and Founding Partner Brian Coffman, who has dedicated his career to helping accident victims navigate the legal system and obtain compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured or lost a loved one, contact Coffman Law today for a free consultation.