OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - A man shot by an Osceola police officer in February 2017 has filed a civil lawsuit against the officer, police chief, and city for damages.
Zyrion Matlock, through attorney Mark Rees, filed the suit on Sept. 20 in Mississippi County Circuit Court in Osceola against Officer Jennifer Ephilin, Police Chief David Gladden, and the city of Osceola.
Arkansas State Police said an Osceola police officer responded to an armed robbery call at the Shell Station in the 4600-block of W. Keiser Street.
One suspect was said to be trying to get into a vehicle that did not belong to him in the parking lot.
That’s when the gun of one of the officers, later revealed to be Ephilin, discharged striking the subject, later revealed to be Matlock, in the back.
The lawsuit claims that Matlock had sustained a “serious back injury, requiring him to seek medical care at The Med in Memphis for the injuries he sustained when he was attacked and shot by Ephilin.”
The suit goes on to say Matlock has suffered loss of earnings and the loss of potential future earnings.
Matlock is suing Ephilin, Gladden, and the city for the following damages:
- Past medical expenses and medical expenses he is expected to incur in the future
- Past pain, suffering, and mental anguish and future pain, suffering and mental anguish
- Lost earnings in the past and the potential of loss earning in the future
- A permanent and debilitating back injury with impairment in his functioning
- A sum of money for compensation for violation of his constitutional rights
To see the full lawsuit, click here.
Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said in a letter to Arkansas State Police on March 7, 2016 that his office would not charge Ephilin in the shooting.
Ellington stated in the letter that Ephilin was the first officer to arrive on the scene of a reported armed robbery at a gas station. She had her gun drawn as she was exiting her patrol vehicle.
As the officer entered the store, three juvenile suspects ran away. One went through the front of the gas station and the other two through the rear exit.
Ephilin told another OPD officer to arrest the suspect that went out the front while she chased after the others.
The officer ordered one suspect to stop. The suspect did not comply and entered a car not involved in the robbery near a gas pump and sat in the passenger seat.
According to Ellington, Ephilin still had her weapon drawn as she approached the car to arrest the suspect.
After switching the gun in her hands to open the car door, her weapon went off as she grabbed the door handle.
The shot went through the door and struck the suspect in the lower back, according to the letter.
Ephilin alerted other officers to the accidental shot so they would not fire at the suspect in the event they thought the juvenile had fired upon her.
Medical help was called as soon as OPD officers learned the suspect was injured.