Mother sues Tampa police for son's death

Posted at 9:02 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 23:11:52-04

May 27 will mark two years since Patricia Silliman’s son Jason Westcott, 29, was shot and killed inside his Tampa home.

After years of pain and suffering, Silliman hopes a lawsuit filed late last week will bring justice to her son. The officers involved were cleared of any wrong doing by the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney.

“I feel like if it was an everyday citizen that murdered my son the way they did there would be criminal charges,” Silliman said. “Just because they have a badge doesn't give them the right to do what they did.”

Tampa Police raided Westcott's home looking for drugs after a confidential informant told them Westcott was an armed drug dealer selling marijuana and heroin out of the home.  

“They took a word of a 20 year felon drug addict, as opposed to even any kind of investigation on a kid who has never been in trouble a day in his life,” Silliman said.

As police walked through the door, that Silliman’s attorney says was unlocked, police say Westcott pointed a gun at them and they they “did what they had to do.”

“There needs to be body cameras on all police officers and that protects them as well as the person who they are accusing of things that may not really be happening,” Silliman said.  

Months earlier Silliman said someone threatened to rob her son. So, he kept a gun close by to protect himself.

According to the suit, Westcott was shot multiple times by two officers, Corporal Eric Wasierski and Edwin Perez.  How Westcott died is inconsistent with the police narrative that he was in a shooting stance with his arm raised holding a gun. The lawsuit also alleges police did not make their presence known as they entered the home.

“They (police) come in your house while you are sleeping what are you going to do? This could happen to anybody anybody,” Silliman said. “If an informant can make up information about somebody, never be investigated on what he is saying ,whose to say they can't come into your house tonight.”

Tampa police have stood by their officers actions to defend themselves. They would not comment on the pending lawsuit.

Silliman said her life has been a nightmare ever since her oldest was killed. A man she says never left her side as a kid and would do anything for anybody.

“They need to be held accountable there needs to be major changes in the way things are done,” Silliman said.  

There will be a two year memorial for Westcott this Friday at 7pm.  The vigil/lantern send off will be held at 250 Shores Dr. East Oldsmar.