An officer from the Juneau Police Department investigate an officer involved shooting off Cinema Drive on Dec. 29,2019. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire File)

An officer from the Juneau Police Department investigate an officer involved shooting off Cinema Drive on Dec. 29,2019. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire File)

Parents of man killed by JPD to sue department

The officer was cleared by the state, but not everyone finds that decision valid.

The parents of a man shot and killed during an encounter with a Juneau Police Department officer on Dec. 29, 2019, will file suit against JPD for wrongful death, a law office announced.

A news release from Monte Hernandez, a legal assistant and investigator for attorney Ben Crittenden, said that Crittenden, along with attorneys John Sweeney and Steven Glickman, will represent the parents of Kelly Stephens, who was shot and killed near Cinema Drive late last year.

Stephens’ shooting was cleared by the state of wrongdoing, and officer James Esbenshade, who killed Stephens, was not charged by the Office of Special Prosecutions in March.

The Alaska Chief Assistant Attorney General, Jack McKenna, cleared Esbenshade and said he was legally justified in his use of deadly force.

Hernandez told the Empire in an email the attorneys will hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon and more information will be forthcoming.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or lockett@juneauempire.com.

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