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Family Of Slain Tallahassee Teenager Weighs Civil Lawsuit

Ayouna McClinton, David Frank, and Gariah Jones sit together at Friday's press conference.
Nick Evans

The family of an 18-year-old shot and killed by police officers nearly a month ago are weighing whether to file a civil suit, although this week a grand jury decided the officers were justified in their use of deadly force.  

On May 29, 18-year-old Duane Strong was shot and killed by police officers outside a Tallahassee bar called Cheeks. Police responded to gunshots at the club according to multiple media outlets.  Strong was in a car when they arrived, and as officers tried to approach the vehicle, Strong drove away.  He ran into two other cars in the process and nearly hit a police officer as well. 

Flanked by Strong’s mother Ayouna McClinton and sister Gariah Jones Friday, Attorney David Frank says the grand jury findings aren’t the end of the story.

“We are going to look at possible claims and legal action against both the Tallahassee Police Department and Cheeks nightclub,” Frank says.  “The family has not made a decision yet to file any particular lawsuit.”

More recently, it’s been reported guns were found in the vehicle with Strong.  But Frank says police testing has determined the guns weren’t fired.

“So the question is not what the police find after they shoot somebody,” Strong says.  “The question is what did they know when they shot – that’s the question.  And yes, there were items found in the car afterwards, but they had nothing to do with the shooting.”

Frank says the family will decide whether to launch a civil case in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, they are calling for anyone with additional information about the event to come forward.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.