Jason Westcott Related News Stories

Tampa Personal Injury Attorney TJ Grimaldi recently filled a lawsuit against the Tampa Police Department on behalf of the Westcott family

Mother of Jason Westcott Suing Tampa Police Department for Negligence

On the week of the two-year anniversary of Jason Westcott’s death, Westcott’s mother Patricia Silliman filed a lawsuit against the Tampa Police Department (TPD). The lawsuit states that TPD was negligent in their use of an informant, who had a history of violence and significant drug use. It also states that the police used “excessive force” when raiding Westcott’s home. The lawsuit disputes a police claim that Westcott was in a “shooting stance with his arm raised, holding a gun”, when police officers shot him. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the police did not make their presence known as they entered the home.

On May 27th, 2014, TPD raided Westcott’s home on a tip from informant Ronnie Coogle, a known drug addict. Coogle told police that Westcott and his boyfriend Israel Reyes had a gun or guns with them at all times during “controlled purchases”. Coogle later admitted to the Tampa Bay Times that the information that he provided was false.

However, this information was the basis for a raid that left Westcott dead at the hands of Cpl. Eric Wasierski and Officer Edwin Perez, who are among a group of nine current and former members of the police department who are named in the suit. Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor is among those named. The police department asserted in an investigation that ultimately ended with Wasierski and Perez being cleared of all wrongdoing by the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney, that Westcott grabbed his gun and was ready to fire it at the officers. However, Silliman’s attorney, TJ Grimaldi, counters that Westcott’s wounds are not consistent with someone who was aiming a gun. He also asserts that Westcott had no knowledge that the police were entering his home.

The lawsuit has caught the attention of local media, including the following stories by the Tampa Bay Times, Fox 13 News, and ABC Action News:

The murder of Jason Westcott by Tampa Police Department

On May 27, 2014, Jason Westcott was gunned-down by members of the Tampa Police Department while they were executing a search warrant for marijuana based solely on the information from a confidential informant that was never properly vetted or supervised during previous alleged marijuana purchases. This confidential informant, Ronnie Coogle, was a paid informant for the Tampa Police Department with a very checkered history of violent crimes and severe drug addiction. However, the Tactical Response Team of the Tampa Police Department stormed the Westcott residence based solely on the information provided by Mr. Coogle with no other supporting evidence of the purported crimes being committed. Upon entering the tiny home, without proper announcement, the TRT members shot and killed Mr. Westcott, later providing incorrect information about what occurred in the home.

A subsequent search of the Westcott residence yielded two dollars ($2.00) worth of marijuana. Ms. Silliman, the mother of young Mr. Westcott, has seen similar tragic events involving law enforcement unfold throughout the country, since the death of her son, and she wants to help effectuate change in any way that she can while seeking justice from all responsible. She feels that this is the best, most appropriate way to protect other innocent lives.

While Ms. Silliman continues to focus on recovering from this terrible loss, she asks that members of the media do not contact her, and ask that you instead contact us, as her attorneys, for any information or comments on her behalf. The Hillsborough County Circuit Case Number is 16-CA-004814.
Please address any media inquiries or interview requests to:

TJ GRIMALDI
PERSONAL INJURY & CRIMINAL DEFENSE
Direct Line: 813.226.1023
Email Address: tj@mcintyrefirm.com

Link to Tampa Bay Times Article about the new filing. 

Jason Westcott’s Family Speaks Out in an Interview Featuring TJ Grimaldi

The family of Jason Westcott, the 29-year-old who was shot and killed during a police raid at his home in May of last year, spoke out on Friday in a radio interview with WMNF 88.5.  Police were led to Westcott by an informer who has since admitted he provided misleading information.  Westcott was fatally shot when a SWAT team entered his home and opened fire after seeing he was armed.  Only .02 grams of marijuana were found in Westcott’s home.  Westcott’s mother, Patti Smillian, and his partner, Israel Reyes, talk alongside attorney TJ Grimaldi about the person Jason was and what they hope to see evolve in the area of law enforcement.  TJ Grimaldi represents Smillian and Reyes.  Listen to the full interview on the WMNF web page.