Federal lawsuit filed 4 years after Aurora woman was killed by police during a traffic stop

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 9:16 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The family of a woman killed by Aurora Police is still looking for answers 4 years after her death.

Savannah Hill died during a traffic stop gone wrong.

John James, attorney for Hill’s family, said, referring to her father, “he wants to know what happened and hold anyone responsible accountable, but he doesn’t have much interest beyond that.”

On May 5, 2018, 21-year-old Savannah Hill called the Aurora Police Department to offer her help. According to court records, she told her contact at the department that she had 19-year-old Mason Farris, a man wanted by law enforcement, in her car.

The young mother of two was coordinating a traffic stop with police so they could arrest him.

But Farris is accused of putting his foot on the gas pedal, speeding the car towards officers who opened fire, and killing Hill.

Her family filed a civil lawsuit on the state level against the officers involved and the cities of Aurora and Marionville, claiming her rights were violated.

“At the time we filed with the state court, we felt the state court procedures were what we needed,” said James.

He said it was an unsuccessful bid to get answers.

Now that same civil case has been filed on the federal level. James says the procedures are different and that more information and official reports are released quickly and thoroughly.

“The federal courts also have greater authority, in my opinion, to help us complete our investigation and obtain what we think are the last bits of the complete picture,” he explained.

James says he’s hoping that Hill’s family will finally get the closure they’ve been looking for.

“The details matter a ton, and they might matter differently to different federal judges or state judges,” he said.

Farris, the man wanted by police, took a plea deal for two counts of resisting arrest in connection with Hill’s death. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

After an investigation, the officers involved were cleared.

Officials with Aurora and Marionville say they could not comment on the lawsuit at this time.

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