Mother of Xzavier Hill can sue state troopers in 2021 fatal shooting courts say

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:07 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A federal lawsuit filed by the mother of an 18-year-old shot and killed by state police can proceed, a judge ruled Monday.

“I’m his mom. So I don’t know what to do other than fight for my kid. That was my boy,” said Latoya Benton, the mother of slain 18-year-old Xzavier Hill.

Benton told NBC12 that a judge ruled she is allowed to proceed with the lawsuit filed in April against two officers she believes still need to be held accountable for her son’s death. She is seeking to get more than $60 million in damages.

“It’s not about money. It’s about principle. It’s about you don’t treat citizens like that,” said Benton. “It’s about systematic change. The system is built for the people. Let them be able to maneuver through the system and let the system, for my constitutional rights those rights, [to] be validated and accepted.”

She filed the suit without an attorney. Benton says she was criticized for this decision, but she is taking matters into her own hands.

“It’s not impossible. I feel like, you know, like everyone kind of tried to discourage me to tell me, oh, you can’t do it without a lawyer or whatnot. And that’s something like, you gotta fight for what’s right,” said Benton.

According to court documents, Hill’s mother can not sue state police because of sovereign immunity, but Benton can go forward with suing the officers involved.

“It’s me not giving up for my son. That’s my thing you don’t give up. Don’t give up,” said Benton. “Hurdles are meant to be jumped. Don’t give up.”

Hill led troopers on a chase that topped speeds of 120 miles an hour on Jan. 9, 2021. He crashed along I-64 in Goochland.

State Police say Hill displayed a gun and refused orders to stop reaching for it before he was shot dead.