LODI, Calif. – The family of a Sikh man killed by police nearly three weeks ago plans to file a lawsuit against the city of Lodi.
Lodi police said they were forced to shoot Parminder Singh Shergill when he charged at them with a knife just outside his home on Jan. 25. Since then, officials haven't released any new information.
"We don't believe it," Shergill's family attorney Mark Merin said. "If they have evidence, let them put it up. Let's see it."
Shergill was a Gulf War vet who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and depression. Merin said everyone in the neighborhood knew him as a kind and gentle man. He said eyewitnesses dispute the official account, claiming Shergill was unarmed and never charged at officers.
"I think their silence is admission they don't have support for this version they put out immediately after the killing," Merin said.
Police said they recovered a folding blade knife at the scene. They said the investigation could take up to a year to complete.
Feeling virtually stonewalled by officials, Merin said he has no choice but to file a lawsuit. He took the first step Thursday by filing a claim against the city.
"We need this. The community wants it. The family wants it," Merin said. "The only way you get information under this system is to file a lawsuit."
Police did not have a comment about the pending lawsuit.
Shergill's death has rattled the tight knit Lodi Sikh community. It's also shaken Shergill's family. They've been frustrated and unable to understand how something like this could happen to someone who has served their country.
"Very difficult," Shergill's sister Kulbinder K. Sohota said at a vigil in January. "I can't describe my words. How hard it is. How hard it is to accept."