The family is represented by a law firm from Houston, and they are alleging Cass' rights were violated after he spoke out against a city ordinance that would govern how long precious metals were to be held after they were bought from the public. The ordinance would have required Abilene Gold Exchange and other businesses that bought metal to hold precious metals for 11 days. It was an effort by the police department to combat theft, then sale of precious metals. According to Cass, the 11 day hold was unfair because of the fluctuation of the price of gold and silver.
In the lawsuit, the family is claiming excessive force was used by the Abilene Police Department when a SWAT-like operation was carried out for a search warrant. The search was related to allegations that Cass and his co-owner had not been keeping records of transactions at the store.
Abilene Police claim that Cass was instructed several times by officers to put the gun down, and it was only after Cass repeatedly refused and then pointed the gun at officers that the officer was forced to take action and fire.
However, the lawsuit alleges that, during this raid, Cass was shot and killed by an Abilene officer as Cass came out of the back of the store with a gun. The lawsuit claims Cass believed it was a robbery because the officers were in plain clothes and had bullet proof vests on. The suit claims the officers were not identified as law enforcement.
The lawsuit alleges the raid was in retaliation for Cass speaking out against the ordinance and the family is suing on the grounds of violation of freedom of speech, excessive force, and civil conspiracy (saying the City of Abilene and APD had a meeting on the course of action that would be taken against Abilene Gold Exchange.)
The family is seeking damages for wrongful death, mental pain and anguish, funeral expenses, loss of care, and loss of inheritance. The lawsuit also says $10,000 of valuables are still being held by the law enforcement.
The second owner of the Abilene Gold Exchange, Charles Camp, has been prosecuted in federal court, but still faces local charges.
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