Man shot by US marshal suing for $10M

Donald Richardson
An April 7, 2017 mug shot of Donald Richardson Jr. from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A parole absconder is suing the U.S. marshal who shot him in Lansing in 2015 for $10 million.

On the night of May 28, 2015, members of the Lansing Area Fugitive Task Force found Donald Richardson Jr., then 33, holed up in a Lansing house. When they tried to arrest him, he fled through a window, at which point he was confronted by Marshal Scott Masteller.

According to the 10-page lawsuit that Richardson filed in federal court in Grand Rapids late last month, Richardson gave up and complied with Masteller’s commands, but Masteller shot him in the back anyway.

Richardson was not armed, but according to the lawsuit, Masteller said there was something in Richardson’s hand that caused him to open fire. That object was later found to be a cellphone.

The suit goes on to allege that when Masteller’s partner came around the corner and asked why he had shot Richardson, Masteller replied, “I don’t know.”

It says Masteller’s story to his superiors and others changed more than once.

The lawsuit does not name the U.S. Marshal’s Service as a defendant; only Masteller. It says Masteller violated Richardson’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable seizure through excessive force and Fourteenth Amendment protections from excessive force by law enforcement.

In addition to the $10 million judgement, it asks for attorney fees and other costs to be covered.

Richardson, now 35, is currently being held at the state prison near Carson City, according to online Michigan Department of Corrections records. The earliest he could be released is this July.