Online petition demands state launch an independent investigation into death of Juston Root, who was fatally shot by police

Eufemia Didonato

An online petition called for Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey to launch an independent investigation into the death of Juston Root, who police fatally shot dozens of times in Brookline in February.

The petition, launched by “Justice for Juston Root,” had more than 1,000 signatures Tuesday as it approaches its goal of 1,500.

“Our son and brother was brutally taken from us,” said Jennifer Root Bannon, Root’s sister. “We’re fighting for justice for him – and to make sure no other family has to face this kind of grief and tragedy.”

The petition said it hopes to raise awareness and receive a thorough investigation from an impartial investigator with no ties to the police.

According to the petition, on Feb. 7, Root was meeting with his therapist in Boston while suffering from a mental health episode before he was chased by police who eventually shot him more than 25 times from close range.

Root’s family in August has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Boston and five officers and one state trooper that shot Root.

Root’s sister filed the suit on behalf of her brother’s estate and alleged Root did not show a weapon and was not given immediate attention after he was shot.

The suit said Root was “on the ground, unarmed, seriously injured and desperately struggling to breathe.”

“In sum, he undeniably posed no immediate threat to harm anyone,” she wrote. “The individual defendants undeniably used unnecessary, gratuitous, and disproportionate force in affecting the seizure of Mr. Root in violation of his constitutional rights.”

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey cleared the five Boston police officers and one Massachusetts State Police trooper of wrongdoing in a final report on the use-of-force incident released in March.

According to the report issued by the district attorney, Root flashed a gun at a security officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital shortly after 9 a.m. on Feb. 7. The report said the 41-year-old Mattapan resident then fled the scene, leading police in a pursuit from the intersection of Fenwood Road and Vining Street in Boston to the intersection of Route 9 and Hammond Street in Brookline, where Root crashed his Chevrolet Volt.

The report stated Root exited his vehicle and ran to a mulched area at a Star Market before police arrived. According to the report, officers ordered Root to show his hands and get on the ground but he reached for what appeared to be a handgun in a shoulder holster he was wearing.

Police then shot Root 26 times within 3.5 seconds. The DA said what police thought was a gun in a shoulder holster he was wearing was later determined to be a Crosman C11 BB gun.

Related Content:

  • Norfolk DA clears 6 police officers in shooting of Justin Root, man with replica gun who led authorities on chase from Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Justin Root, man fatally shot by 6 police officers after chase through Boston and Brookline, was denied immediate medical aid, family’s lawsuit claims

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