Proutey's family files lawsuit against Wilmington - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Mother of teen killed walking to car files lawsuit against City of Wilmington

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Joshua Proutey was shot in December 2012 while heading to his car after working an event at the Community Arts Center on Second and Orange Streets. He was 19 years old. Joshua Proutey was shot in December 2012 while heading to his car after working an event at the Community Arts Center on Second and Orange Streets. He was 19 years old.
Patty Proutey said in court in Dec. 2013 she forgives Grady. Patty Proutey said in court in Dec. 2013 she forgives Grady.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The mother of a teen who was shot and killed walking to his car after work in 2012 has filed a lawsuit against the City of Wilmington.

Joshua Proutey was shot in December 2012 while heading to his car after working an event at the Community Arts Center on Second and Orange Streets. He was 19 years old.

According to District Attorney Ben David, Grady approached Joshua Proutey and demanded money. He says the teen pulled out $10 to hand over, but asked to keep it.

David said Joshua Proutey was ordered back to into his car, but froze, so Grady shot him.

The lawsuit says Proutey's mother, Patty Proutey, is seeking monetary damages in excess of $25,000 for the city's negligence to keep the area safe and a trial by jury.

According to the lawsuit, Patty Proutey believes her son's death was a "direct and proximate result of the negligence of the City."

According to documents, Patty Proutey believes the City of Wilmington was negligent in one or more of the following:

  • failed to install adequate lighting
  • knew or should have known of the unsafe conditions of the parking lot
  • failed to exercise reasonable care in protecting Mr. Proutey of unsafe
  • failed to exercise reasonable care of maintained and care of parking lot
  • failed to provide adequate precaution against criminal activity in the parking lot
  • failed to make reasonable inspections of dangerous conditions
  • failed to exercise reasonable care of injury from criminal attack
  • failed to use reasonable care to deter criminal activity on premise
  • failed to implement security measures to be reasonable safe for public

The lawsuit also claims there have been a number of complaints to the City by employees of the Hannah Block Center and others regarding the lighting in the parking lot.

It goes onto say Don Betz, a member of the Hannah Block Center Advisory Board, made a presentation in 2010 about the poor lighting to no avail.

Betz explained Friday that the board was concerned about parent's who picked up their children after night events. He said he felt the city staff didn't respond and his illustration of the potential dangers fell on "deaf ears."

Don Betz resigned from the Hannah Block Center Advisory Board after Proutey's death, citing his belief that the City did not adequately address the safety concerns he and others repeatedly expressed about the parking lot.

"I am disappointed that this murder took place adjacent to the HBHUSO/CAC on my watch while a member of this Advisory Board," said Betz in his resignation letter. "To me, this was Wilmington's Benghazi moment and many of us failed this young man, Joshua Proutey, and like those responsible in the US State Department, I must resign from this Advisory Board for I didn't do enough to help prevent this foreseeable tragedy."

Betz did say the City of Wilmington put up a new light rather quickly after Proutey's death, but an "unfortunate death had to occur" for that to happen.\

Joshua's brother says not everyone in the family agrees with the lawsuit.  He says Joshua's mother has been separated from Joshua's father and that many members of the family didn't know about it and do not agree with the lawsuit.

On the phone, Ben Proutey said he does not think the parking lot lighting or its condition caused his brother's murder and said the city has been very supportive.

"The lighting has no bearing on whether or not these people are going to go out and commit a crime. It was my understanding that they were walking up and down different streets doing different things so I don't even know if they think about lights when they think about where they are going to go next," said Ben Proutey. "If you are willing to climb up a ladder to rob somebody's house I don't think a street light is going to stop you from murdering somebody"

He says those responsible for his brother's death have already been charged in court, and said he doesn't believe the lawsuit is valid.

"If I thought that the city was in anyway responsible for this, my family definitely would have considered action," said Ben Proutey. He said it only makes things more difficult for him, to have his brother's murder go through the court system again. "Any time an issue comes up, that it related to the murder of my brother it is definitely difficult, and especially when the purpose is for somebody's personal gain rather than an actually improvement in the city's ability to stop crime."

Quintel Raheem Grady pleaded guilty in December 2013 to first degree murder in the shooting death of Proutey. At that time, Grady was given a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without parole.

He also received additional prison time, on top of life, for the robbery with a dangerous weapon charge, conspiracy to commit a robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon.

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