Family reaches $1.7 million settlement with PBSO in wrongful death suit

Posted at 11:19 PM, Oct 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 23:19:14-04

It’s been an agonizing fight for justice for the family of 18-year-old Michael Camberdella.

“In stead of them helping my son, they put my son in a body bag right in front of my eyes,” said Linda Camberdella, Michael’s mom.

The Boynton Beach teenager suffered from mental health issues.

On October 4, 2012, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Camberdella, a deputy who was originally called out to help because the victim was acting out that day.

“They’re supposed to save lives and protect lives, not take them away,” said Linda.

Now more than four years later his family is seeing a small sign of justice.

“We’re really happy that the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office finally stood up and recognized what was here and have done the right thing,” said the family’s attorney Sean Domnick.

The family has reached a settlement for 1.7 million dollars in a wrongful death suit against the sheriff’s office.
According to Domnick, this will be the largest settlement ever offered by the agency.

“It speaks to the compelling facts of this case,” he said.

Investigators said when the deputy responded that day, Camberdella had gardening sheers and a mallet in his hand
Investigators said the deputy felt threatened and shot and killed the teen.

While the officer was ultimately cleared of any wrong doing, the family feels that shouldn't have been the case.

In fact, Domnick told reporters Wednesday that it was “undisputed testimony” that Michael dropped the weapons at the deputy's command. The lawyer also said physical evidence did not support the deputy’s claim that the teen charged at the deputy.

“There is no amount of money that will ever bring my son back,” said Linda. “I would trade every dollar, every dime to bring my son back.”

While the family didn’t get justice in the criminal system, she hopes her son’s death will facilitate change in the way law enforcement respond to mental health patients.

“They need to assess the situation before killing our children,” she said. 

The family and their attorneys expressed frustration at the way the investigation was handled.

PBSO said in a statement, “as a general policy the sheriff’s office does not comment on any legal settlements because each one has its own set of unique legal complexities and issues. Each case is settled based on those complexities and always in the best interest of the Palm Beach County tax payers."