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Wrongful death lawsuit against Tampa Police Department on hold for now

Hillsborough County

A woman’s wrongful death lawsuit against the Tampa Police Department is on hold, for now.  

Patricia Silliman filed suit against the department in 2014 following the death of her son, 29-year-old Jason Westcott.

It was May 28, 2014. Tampa Police SWAT Team members were serving a warrant at a house on Knollwood Street in the Lowrey Park area. Investigators suspected Westcott was a drug dealer in the area.  

When officers arrived, they say Westcott pointed a weapon at them and they shot and killed him.

Tampa attorney T.J. Grimaldi represented Silliman in the case.  

In 2016, Grimaldi filed a motion to dismiss in reference to several of the defendants in the case. The motion was granted. One of those defendants was then Police Chief Jane Castor.

The organization Florida for Transparency started looking at the case and representatives believe Grimaldi had a friendly relationship with the Tampa Police Department and some of its top brass, including the chief.  

Joshua Statton is the president of the group.  

“We have the goods. We have the evidence. I don’t want to go as far as saying he’s in the pocket of Jane Castor and the Tampa Police Department,” said Statton.

“But the corroborating evidence strongly, strongly suggests it.”

Israel Reyes was also in the home at the time of the shooting and is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. He and Silliman both sent letters to Grimaldi letting him know his services were no longer needed.

“We’ve always said, ‘this isn’t about money, this isn’t about anything.’ Tampa Police Department took everything that we had, which is Jason Westcott,” said Reyes.

“And we cannot get him back.”

Silliman says she’s now looking for a new attorney.  

“I’m going to find an attorney who will bring justice to my son’s death,” said Silliman, as tears rolled down her face.

“An attorney with an ethical comittment to disclose conflicts when they exist.”

Grimaldi denied Silliman’s and Reyes’ claims but said he did not want to comment any further.

Representatives with the Tampa Police Department will not comment on pending lawsuits.

When asked about the timing of today’s announcement, they day before the Tampa mayoral election, Silliman was quick to say this is not about politics.  

“It does not have anything to do with the election,” said Silliman.

“It has to do with justice for Jason.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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