Family of man killed in police shooting sues; Ogden responds

Jul 23, 2020, 11:43 AM | Updated: 4:07 pm
ogden police shooting...
Juan Mercado speaks to the media as he and his wife Rosa Mercado attend a news conference with attorney Robert Sykes in his Salt Lake City offices on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, about their son, Jovany Mercado, who was shot and killed by Ogden police officers. Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

OGDEN, Utah — An attorney representing the city of Ogden responded Thursday to a lawsuit filed against the city and four officers involved in the shooting death of a man. 

The family of Jovany Mercado, 26, says he was lawfully and openly carrying a folding knife, on his own property and was not threatening anyone when he was shot and killed by Ogden police officers Brandon Sevenski, Nigil Bailey, Karson Garcia and John Chandler Poulsen. 

The lawsuit names the city of Ogden, its police department, all four officers involved in the shooting, and ten people identified as John and Jane Doe, who allegedly trained or supervised the four officers. 

The day of the police shooting 

On August 26, 2019, neighbors attending a gathering called police to report a man with a knife threatening them near 32nd St. and Gramercy Ave. in Ogden.

In a statement released by Ogden City’s attorney, Heather White states when officers responded to the call, they found Mercado behind a carport.

Bodycam footage and surveillance video from Mercado’s home, show the officers demanding Mercado drop the knife; he did not. Mercado is seen walking toward the fence between himself and the officers. Four officers fired 20 shots, striking Mercado 16 times, and killing him.  

There are discrepancies between both parties involved regarding the violent nature of Mercado. 

Weber County Attorney Chris Allred ruled the shooting justified in March. 

Jovany Mercado’s family files lawsuit in federal court 

The family’s attorney, Robert Sykes, claims in the suit filed in federal court this week that Mercado had every right to carry a knife on his own property. 

“He was always peaceful and non-threatening,” the suit argues. “The shooting of Jovany Mercado was unlawful under rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, the Utah Constitution, and the laws of the State of Utah.” 

The lawsuit argues the officers violated Mercado’s Second Amendment right to bear arms, his Fourth Amendment right protecting against unreasonable search and seizure, and his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process. 

On Thursday, Skyes held a video conference addressing questions about the lawsuit. 


“They didn’t have to shoot and kill this young man,” said Skyes. “It was improper to use deadly force here. It was illegal. It was unconstitutional. And it was a violation of his [Mercado] rights.” 

Skyes said there were other methods police could have used to control the situation. “They [the officers] had time to talk to him [Mercado] before they started shooting,” argued Skyes. He states Mercado was 15 to 20 feet away from the officers when they began firing.  

The Mercado family is hoping the lawsuit brings forth police accountability. 

“I want police reform,” said Mercado’s father, Juan. “I’m looking for justice. I won’t stop until I get justice. I want to see jail. I want them [the officers] prosecuted legally.” 

Ogden City responds to lawsuit 

In a news conference Thursday morning, an attorney representing the city of Ogden responded to the lawsuit by replaying body camera footage of the shooting and surveillance video from the Mercado home and walking through the facts of the case. 


“The officers shot Jovany in self-defense and in defense of others when Jovany came … aggressively at them with a knife,” attorney Heather White said. 

In a previous news conference with Mercado’s parents, Sykes indicated he hoped to settle with Ogden officials out-of-court; the filing of the lawsuit indicates that did not happen. 

This story will be updated. 

Today’s Top Stories


Robb Elementary...
Rosa Flores, Rosalina Nieves and Christina Maxouris, CNN

A police officer asked for permission to shoot the Uvalde gunman before he entered the school, but didn’t hear back in time, new report says

According to a new assessment on the handling of the Uvalde school shooting, an officer armed with a rifle spotted the gunman before he entered the school. But was never cleared to fire.
1 day ago
hate crime death penalty...
Curt Gresseth

Polarization is behind US mass shootings, says psychiatrist

A psychiatrist discusses why mental health disorders are not the reason behind mass shootings in America but rather polarization of US society is to blame.
1 day ago
Ogden police car...
Mark Jones

Ogden-Weber Technical College evacuated due to bomb threat; no bomb found

Weber County emergency personnel responded to the Ogden-Weber Technical College Wednesday afternoon for a report of bomb threat. After a search of the campus, no device was found.
1 day ago
The family of Zane James reacts to settlement with Cottonwood Heights city....
Mark Jackson

Family of Zane James speaks out after settlement reached with Cottonwood Heights

The family of Zane James, who died after a police altercation in 2018, reached a settlement with the city of Cottonwood Heights over the death.
1 day ago
A German Shepard lays on the ground...
Mark Jones

Dog dies after being left in hot car for more than an hour

A dog died Tuesday after being left in a hot car for more than an hour, according to Salt Lake County Animal Services.
2 days ago
Utah Highway Patrol stopped 4,937 vehicles over the Fourth of July weekend....
Mark Jones

Busy Fourth of July weekend for Utah Highway Patrol

In statistics released Tuesday, the Utah Highway Patrol says its Troopers made contact with 4,937 drivers over the Fourth of July weekend, making it a busy one.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Family of man killed in police shooting sues; Ogden responds