Delaware Public Media

Wilmington seeks to move McDole lawsuit to federal court

Mar 25, 2016

Attorneys representing the city of Wilmington in the lawsuit over the police shooting of Jeremy McDole have filed to transfer the case from state to federal court.


A motion to transfer the case was field late Thursday.


“It’s disappointing that the city Wilmington doesn’t think they can get a fair trial in our lively state court system. This looks like a slap in the face of our state court trial judges and the Delaware Supreme Court,”  said Thomas Neuburger, an attorney representing the McDole family.

But Neuburger adds he's unsurprised by what he calls a “tactical” and “racially-motivated” move on the city’s part because he argues that minorities aren’t as widely represented in federal court juries.


“We’re saying these white officers killed this helpless black man in a wheelchair who was paralyzed from the waist down," said Neuberger. "This case is about race discrimination and the city wants to get it in front of an all white jury to protect its all white policemen.”

There are six jurors in federal court, while in state court there are 12.

The City Solicitor’s office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

McDole - a wheelchair-bound black man - was shot and killed last September by Wilmington police responding to reports of a man with a gun who had shot himself.  Bystander cell phone footage shows police shouting for McDole to put his weapon down and McDole appearing to reach for his waist.

His mother and grandmother filed the lawsuit in state Superior Court in March.