Capital Clicks

Civil trial in police-shooting death now set for January 2025

By: - November 15, 2023 2:51 pm

Brent Boggess (inset) is seen getting out of his truck moments after being shot by a Waterloo police officer. Boggess’ family is suing the city for excessive force and wrongful death in the 2021 shooting. (Photo of police car via Canva; photo of Boggess from U.S. District Court files)

A trial date has been scheduled in a civil case involving the death of Brent Boggess, who was killed by Waterloo police during a 2021 traffic stop.

The civil trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 27, 2025, with Chief U.S. District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand presiding.

Boggess’ family is suing the City of Waterloo in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, claiming wrongful death and excessive force. The city and the individual police officers named in the lawsuit have denied any wrongdoing.

In recent court filings, the City of Waterloo asked that the words “homicide” and “murder” be stricken from the family’s lawsuit, arguing the words were “immaterial, impertinent or scandalous.” Attorneys for the family objected, telling the court, “The only scandalous part of this dispute is that an Iowa law enforcement officer literally got away with murder — not that plaintiffs are accurately pointing this out.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Roberts ruled recently in the city’s favor, striking from the petition the reference to “murder,” which he noted is a criminal offense that has not been charged, and any reference to prosecutors’ alleged reluctance to pursue charges against police officers, ruling that the assertion is irrelevant to the wrongful death claim.

Roberts ruled in favor of the family, however, on their use of the word “homicide” to describe Boggess’ death, noting it appeared to be a “readily verifiable fact.”

Boggess, 41, was killed shortly after a Waterloo police officer attempted to pull him over in the early hours of Nov. 16, 2021. Boggess stopped and talked to the officer who initiated the stop, but then drove away toward his home with the officer in pursuit. Eventually, seven other police officers responded to the incident.

Boggess was eventually stopped in an alley where officers deployed stop-sticks on the pavement in front of his truck and a police car pulled in behind Boggess. The lawsuit alleges that body-camera footage shows Boggess telling police he had “mental health issues.”

About that same time, Officer Nick Weber allegedly entered the alley, driving toward the front of Boggess’ truck and over the stop-sticks deployed by his fellow officers. Boggess then pulled forward and the two vehicles collided at a low rate of speed, according to the lawsuit.

Waterloo Police Officer Kenneth Schaaf, standing near the passenger side of Boggess’ truck, then fired five rounds into the vehicle, with four of the bullets striking Boggess. At the time, the police officers who had been conversing with Boggess were standing near the driver’s side of the truck and were in Schaaf’s line of fire, according to the lawsuit.

Body-camera footage allegedly shows Boggess getting out of his truck, saying, “Dude, I’m unarmed,” and then collapsing to the ground.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.