by Victoria Price
LUBBOCK, TX -- The Denver City Police Department, including DCPD officer Ryan Taylor, argue they're "immune" against claims of gross negligence, excessive force and violation of constitutional rights brought up against them by the family of Amy Reyna.
Reyna, 35 at the time, was shot and killed by Taylor last October after she led him on a high speed chase from Denver City into New Mexico. An autopsy later found Reyna was high on methamphetamine at the time.
Nearly two months to the day since Reyna's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, all defendants named in the suit have responded in court records. That includes Yoakum and Lea Counties, also named in the suit because sheriff's deputies from both eventually joined in on the multi-state pursuit.
Denver City's response reads that the lawsuit doesn't adequately prove Taylor or the department violated Reyna's constitutional rights. They go on to argue that the Reyna family cannot sue the department, a governmental entity, without sufficiently proving those rights were violated.
Yoakum County argues they can't be held liable for a wrongful death in this case because they say their deputies didn't use any force that day. And Lea County argues they can't be held liable for the actions of a Denver City officer, even if he shot and killed Reyna in Lea County.
Last week, the District Attorney in Hobbs said she has no intentions of trying this case criminally, meaning the civil suit is the only chance Reyna's family has in obtaining any justice. At this point, the next step will be for a federal judge to determine if the defendants' immunity claims are valid. If deemed invalid, each party will have to gather evidence and give depositions under oath. Then, a trial date will presumably be set, unless the parties settle out of court.
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