County to pay $690,000 settlement in no-knock raid death of man armed with pellet pistol

Published 9:23 pm Friday, September 30, 2022

A Mississippi county has agreed to a $690,000 settlement in the death of a man who was shot by sheriff’s deputies during a 2015 no-knock raid.

A federal magistrate on Wednesday confirmed the amount with the attorneys handling the case for Ricky Keeton’s family, according to an audio recording of the hearing provided by the court.

The settlement, which has not yet been fully formalized, would be paid to Keeton’s family out of a pool to which Monroe County contributes alongside other local governments, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

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Keeton’s daughters sued after the shooting on Oct. 28, 2015. Monroe County SWAT team rammed the door of Keeton’s mobile home, pried it open, then unleashed a barrage of gunfire when they saw Keeton holding a pellet pistol.

Keeton’s girlfriend, Wanda Stegall, has said she never heard deputies identify themselves and Keeton thought intruders were at the door. His death was similar to the 2020 shooting death in Louisville, Kentucky, of Breonna Taylor, which led activists to demand that no-knock raids be banned or limited.

Deputies contend they identified themselves and that Keeton fired the pellet pistol at them.

After the shooting, then-Sheriff Cecil Cantrell falsely claimed that Keeton threw open the door and opened fire at deputies, describing Keeton as the aggressor. Sworn deposition by sheriff’s deputies contradicted Cantrell’s version of events.

Jim Waide and his wife, Rachel Waide, represented the Keeton family — Robbie Geiger, Delisha Mooney and Megan Archar. He described the agreement as “a good settlement.”

“I just want my dad’s life to be justified and his name to be cleared,” Geiger told the newspaper last year. “Just to have some vindication for him and his life.”

Keeton’s death highlights the danger of no-knock raids, which were long heavily used by Monroe County, Jim Waide said.

“The idea that you would break into someone’s home for a trivial drug violation when he’s known to be a non-violent person, that just doesn’t need to happen,” he said.

Attorneys representing Monroe County and Eric Sloan, a former sheriff’s deputy also named by the suit, did not respond to requests for comment.