Jonathon Ferrell, 24, crashed his car in September and sought help at a nearby home. The resident called police, and officers responding said Ferrell ran at them when they arrived. One officer used a stun gun on him, which police officials said didn't connect. Police said officer Randall Kerrick then fired 12 times, hitting Ferrell 10 times.
Kerrick, 28, was put on unpaid leave from the Charlotte, N.C., police force and was charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly using excessive force.
Ferrell's family said they hope their wrongful-death lawsuit, filed Monday in North Carolina Superior Court, will help push the criminal case forward.
The suit names Kerrick, the city, the county and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe as defendants, NBC News reported.
"This was a murderer who was acting while on duty. Taxpayers were paying him, and he murdered someone," Christopher Chestnut, a lawyer for the family, said of Kerrick. "We all deserve answers. The department needs answers."
An autopsy revealed alcohol in Ferrell's system at the time of his death, but it was below the legal limit for driving, NBC News said.