PBSO to pay $562,500 for deadly shooting in Boca

Posted: 5:20 PM, Feb 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-02 23:58:44Z

Nearly two years after a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a mentally ill Boca Raton man who called 911 for help, PBSO has agreed to pay the man's mom $562,500 in wrongful death damages.

28-year-old Matthew Pollow was shot four times by a PBSO deputy on April 2, 2014.  He died outside his apartment complex in suburban Boca Raton.  

Pollow's mom sued PBSO for wrongful death last year.  

Pollow was bipolar and had schizophrenia.  Just prior to the shooting, he had called police for help dealing with his mental issues since it was after normal business hours.

According to his mom's attorney, Pollow and his mother were in the parking lot of his apartment complex when PBSO deputy Evan Rosenthal and another deputy arrived.  The deputy claimed Pollow had a 4-inch screwdriver in his hand which made the deputy fear for his life.  As a result, the deputy shot Pollow.  

During interviews for the civil lawsuit, Pollow's family attorney claims the deputy's version of what happened conflicted with what the other deputy on scene described. The two officers told different accounts of where deputy Rosenthal was at the time of the shooting and what Pollow was doing.  

The family insists Pollow was not armed and was 30 feet away from the deputy when Pollow was shot in the back.

After more than a year of investigating, the State Attorney's office cleared PBSO deputy Evan Rosenthal of any criminal wrongdoing.  PBSO's internal affairs department, which investigates if a deputy involved in a shooting violated any internal policies, also cleared the deputy.

But Pollow's attorneyTed Leopold, who filed the lawsuit against PBSO, accused the State Attorney of not conducting a thorough investigation and relying only on what the attorney called "self-serving" statements from PBSO.

“This is just another sad example of poor training and bad judgment by the Sheriff and his officers.  For no reason, another life was tragically lost.  No amount of restitution will bring Matthew back following this tragic and senseless police killing,” said Leopold.  “But hopefully, this settlement sends a message that no one is above the law, not even the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.”

This settlement is the latest round of high profile PBSO shootings that are coming to a close.  Recently, PBSO agreed to pay a 6 figure settlement over the shooting of Jeremy Hutton.  He has down syndrome and was 17-years-old when he shot by a deputy after he took his mom's mini-van for a joyride.

The federal civil trial surrounding the shooting of Dontrell Stephens, an unarmed black man shot and rendered paralyzed by a deputy in 2012, is expected to be decided by a jury before the end of this week.