MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Back in April of this year, Michael and Terry Boarts learned their daughter, Melissa, was driving down Interstate 85 toward Montgomery with a pocketknife planning to do harm to herself.
The family called 911 and told the operator their daughter had a pocketknife and was planning to harm herself. They also told the operator that she has mental illnesses. Auburn Police responded to the call. While pulled over on Red Creek Road in Macon County, Auburn Police says Boarts lunged at the two officers with a weapon. The officers feared for their lives and shot Boarts.
Since then, the family says they have been living a nightmare.
“It’s still the same pain, and the same hurt,” Melissa’s mother Terry said. “It’s just like it happened. Every morning when I wake up, it’s the same pain. I don’t understand why it had to happen.”
Now, the family along with their attorney, Julian McPhillips plan to file a lawsuit against the City of Auburn and the officers involved. They say they have witnesses and experts on mental health and proper policing to help their case.
The family started a petition to have the video and audio of the shooting released, and so far it is close to 70,000 signatures. The family says they did not expect to receive all of the signatures.
The family says now, they are not just fighting for Melissa. They are fighting for police to have more training for dealing with those dealing with mental illnesses. They are also fighting for all of those who have mental illnesses.
“I’d be satisfied if I can have my daughter back, and that’s not going to happen,” Melissa’s father Michael said. “So, I will never be satisfied. This isn’t about money. This is about waking them [police] up.”
The family’s attorney, Julian McPhillips told News Three: “Auburn ‘ought to be just terribly ashamed of what they did. There’s been no apology from the City of Auburn; none from the mayor, none from the chief of police. They are just big bullies, and they think they can get away it, but we don’t think they will.”
We reached out to Auburn Police, and they told us they will be glad to comment on the matter after a Macon County Grand Jury releases their findings on the case.