EXCLUSIVE: Family suing Redford Township Police Department for the deadly shooting of their son

REDFORD TWP., Mich. (WXYZ) - A family claims that the Redford Township Police Department wrongfully killed their son and they are filing a lawsuit in federal court this week.

"Police officers should not be allowed to do this. I mean, I don't want anyone else to suffer like this. It was a senseless, senseless death," said Sandra Krause.

"You never expect a police officer to murder your son," said Thomas Krause.

Sandra and Thomas Krause lost their son Matthew Krause three years ago when he was shot 18-20 times and killed during a standoff with the Redford Township Police SWAT team. 

The civil lawsuit claims that the Redford Township Police Department, Redford Township, and three of the township's police officers, including the current police chief, are responsible for wrongly killing Matthew Krause.

"I said, okay, you guys know what you're doing. I put all my trust and faith in the policeman's hands to bring my son out safe. And they didn't follow through for me," said mom Sandra.

Matthew's parents believe the police violated their son's rights.

"Just love and hug those kids as long as you can because you never know when you're going to lose them," said Sandra.

Their attorney Greg Rohl said that anytime the family inquired about Matthew's death, they were given the runaround, and the lawsuit is an effort to get answers.

"The concern was, hey, what happened. What really happened here?" said attorney Greg Rohl.

So what did happen on the day that Matthew was killed? 

We will get to that in a moment. First, we will take a look at what led up to that standoff with police on December 12, 2008.

Matthew grew up in Redford and later bought his home there. There was only a nine month difference between him and his younger sister Alicia.

"Because he was my only brother, so there was a lot that I relied on him for that he's not there for anymore," said Alicia Krause

Alicia remembers her brother as the happy guy that everyone liked to be around, that guy with stunning blue eyes and blonde hair.  He ran cross country and track at Catholic Central High School and attended college at Western Michigan University. 

At some point Matthew was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.  He started bodybuilding and when Matthew graduated he went to work at the family business, an advertising agency in Redford.   

"He was my only sibling, so, I don't have a brother anymore.  And we were very close.  He knew a lot of things about me other people didn't know and we shared a lot of things together," said Alicia.

But there was a side of himself that Matthew kept private from his family. 

He had a gun collection and he was recently wanted by police on a felony warrant for possession of 50 grams of cocaine. Both Alicia and her parents say they never knew about either one.

"No.  No," said his mother. 

The day Matthew was killed US Marshals went to his home to arrest him on the cocaine charge. 

The marshals called in the SWAT team after they said Matthew ran into a bedroom and threatened them with a gun. The standoff lasted 10 hours. 

During that time police say Matthew was talking to them but refused to come out, and at one point his father was sent in by police in hopes of talking Matthew out.

The SWAT team hoped to surprise Matthew who had grown tired during the standoff and was sleeping in a closet.  They deployed a flash device and stormed the room.

They say that's when Matthew woke up and shot at them. Officers fired back, and 18-20 shots hit and killed Matthew. All of the kill shots were fired by the first officer through the door.

Attorney Rohl says the shooting wasn't justified. 

He has an expert that will testify in court that there is no evidence Matthew ever shot at police. He says this is just one of several things that went wrong during the shooting.

But proving a police shooting was not justified is difficult said defense attorney David Robinson.  Robinson was a Detroit Police officer for 13 years.  He is now a defense attorney who specializes in police brutality cases.  

"The courts look to an objective standard - whether or not an objective or reasonable officer with the same facts would have done the same thing," said attorney David Robinson.

The family will fight their case in federal court and try to prove that the police messed up and that Matthew didn't have to die.

"I know that as soon as he showed his face they would've had him down on the ground, but, at least he would be alive," said mom Sandra.

The Redford Township Police Department said they cannot comment on any ongoing litigation.

The attorney for the police, the township, and the officers involved in the lawsuit has refused to return numerous phone calls from 7 Action News. 

In their report, police say they found a .38 caliber revolver, three long guns, various narcotics, syringes, and steroids in the room that Matthew Krause was barricaded in.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office sent a letter to the family stating that there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal

charges against the officers, the township, or the police department. 

The civil lawsuit is being filed in federal court on Thursday.

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