Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed in Niangua Police Shooting

Published in Firm News,Personal Injury,Plaintiff on May 21, 2024

Melinda Austin, the mother of Niangua Resident Dylan Austin, filed a multi-million dollar seven count federal civil rights lawsuit against Niangua Police Department officer Dwayne McAtee.   McAtee pursed Dylan Austin into his Webster County home on March 13, 2024 without a warrant and shot him in the bedroom in front of his mother.
Melinda Austin alleges that McAtee waged an improper campaign of stalking and harassment against her son that was witnessed and reported by many in the community.  The suit alleges that on the night in question McAtee falsely claimed that Austin was operating an ATV without a light where local surveillance camera recordings show that Austin was using a light.  It alleges McAtee pursued Austin who attempted to find safety at the Niangua mayor’s home.  McAtee chased Austin to Austin’s nearby home, McAteee broke through the front door without a warrant and McAtee fired 8 shots, killing Austin in front of his mother in their house while a child slept nearby.  The suit states Austin had a flashlight in his hand when he was shot.
The suit claims the City of Niangua was careless in hiring and supervising McAtee who had a history of wrongfully discharging his firearm including while working at the City of Strafford.  The suit claims McAtee had no reason to fear for his safety or to use lethal force against Austin.
As of this date, McAtee has not been charged by the Webster County Prosecuting Attorney or indicted by a Grand Jury and is innocent until proven guilty.   The surviving family members, Melinda Austin (mother) and Dallas Austin (brother) are hopeful that McAtee and the City of Niangua will be held accountable.
According to her attorney Craig Heidemann, “Standing up against violations civil rights by those in positions of power is one of a lawyer’s greatest responsibilities.  There’s no greater civil right than to be free from being wrongfully killed by the police.  It’s my privilege to represent Mrs. Austin in her journey to find justice for her son Dylan who was taken from her before her eyes for an offense as minor as allegedly riding his ATV without a light.”
A copy of the lawsuit is available here: Filed Amended Complaint