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Romanucci & Blandin, LLC to Represent Family of West Virginia Man Shot Dead by Police Officers

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by Romanucci & Blandin

CHICAGO, IL – (December 8, 2016) Attorneys from Romanucci & Blandin announced today that they have been retained to represent the family of Bernard Cottrell, a 65-year-old from Roane County West Virginia, who was shot and killed on September 6, 2016 following a pursuit by West Virginia State Troopers and Roane County officers. The firm has demanded that all police reports and video footage related to the incident be released immediately so that the family can know the truth behind exactly what happened to their loved one who tragically and unnecessarily lost his life in September.

On September 5, Roane County officers were called to the home of Cottrell by his family members simply as a precautionary measure. It was then requested by the officers that the family obtain a mental hygiene petition for Cottrell, who suffered from a long history of non-violent schizophrenia. The following day, the same officers and additional police were dispatched to handle a similar situation involving Cottrell. Despite the officers’ knowledge of his medical history, no preventative measures were taken to evaluate and de-escalate the scene before 20 to 30 shots were fired by officers, ending Cottrell’s life.

“Situations similar to Bernard Cottrell’s, where excessive police force against the emotionally disturbed are taking place, happen more often than not,” said Antonio M. Romanucci, Principal and Partner at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. “Across the country we are hearing about the tragic deaths of emotionally disturbed persons (EDPs), including John Brown in Wisconsin and Kenneth Chamberlain in New York, to name a few. In 2014, more than 130,000 phone calls were received by police from EDPs. Unfortunately, our police departments and officers are grossly underprepared to deal with situations that require specialized EDP training.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 40 million adults in the United States experience mental illness annually, with nearly 60% of those individuals not receiving mental health services in the past year. “It is estimated that people with mental illness are 16 times more likely than others to be killed by police, according to a Treatment Advocacy Center report,” added Romanucci. “Until real education reform around treatment of EDPs takes place, individuals will continue to be killed unnecessarily.”

 About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC

Romanucci & Blandin has been rated as a leading civil trial practice law firm in Chicago concentrating in personal injury and police misconduct. The attorneys at the Chicago law firm represent individuals and their families in catastrophic personal injury matters, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. The cases that are referred to Romanucci & Blandin involve accidents or injuries which occurred due to negligence and carelessness on the part of individuals, governmental bodies and corporations of all sizes.  Since its inception more than 15 years ago, Romanucci & Blandin has secured more than $400 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients. For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit or call (312) 458-1000.

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