Parents of Jovany Mercado sue Ogden City, 4 officers over son’s fatal shooting in 2019

Suspect Jovany Mercado-Bedolla (inset) was fatally shot by an Ogden Police officer on Aug. 16, 2019. Image: Bodycam video screen shot.

OGDEN, Utah, July 23, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The family of an Ogden man who was shot and killed last Aug. 16 by four officers of the Ogden City Police Department is suing those officers and the city.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Bob Sykes, argues that the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Jovany Mercado was an unconstitutional use of deadly force.

Parents Juan and Rosa Mercado say their son was in their driveway and was holding — not brandishing — a sheathed pocket knife when he walked toward officers, who responded by shooting him more than 20 times within a few seconds of his approach.

The Mercados say the police response was out of proportion with the actions of their son.

The family of Jovany Mercado has actively rallied against police brutality and asked for reform. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Laura Withers

“Jovany was obviously disoriented, intoxicated and/or mentally impaired or mentally ill. Jovany never threatened anyone,” the court documents say.

“Jovany never assaulted anyone. Utah is an open-carry state and Jovany had a constitutional right to carry the pocket knife.”

According to police reports, neighbors said Mercado had been walking around with the knife, which frightened them. Police responded to the call, and arrived in the area of  32nd Street and Gramercy Avenue.

“Despite the fact Jovany is seen walking peacefully, and had committed no crime, officers demanded that Jovany put down his pocketknife,” the lawsuit says. “The pocketknife was seen by the officers to be at Jovany’s side. He never raised or moved the pocketknife in an aggressive manner.

“Jovany was given virtually no time (just a few seconds) to comply with the confusing and overlapping ‘drop it’ and ‘come to them’ commands of the officers,” the lawsuit says.

Protesters showed their support of “Justice for Jovany” at an event in Ogden. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Laura Withers

Juan Mercado also spoke at the the news conference called by Sykes.

“They came to execute someone. They came to kill someone that night,” Mercado said. “They were maniacs, the way they were shooting.”

Heather White, an attorney for Ogden City, spoke to reporters an hour or so before Sykes’ scheduled conference.

“Today, Ron and Rosa Mercado filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging Ogden City Police officers wrongfully shot and killed their son, Jovany Mercado,” White said.

“Bodycam recordings from the officers, as well as surveillance videos from the Mercado home, show the officers shot Jovany in self-defense and defense of others when Jovany came aggressively at them with a knife…. The Weber County Attorney’s office conducted an independent investigation and determined the officers were justified in shooting Jovany.”

To view violent and disturbing bodycam video released last year, click the link below. Viewer discretion is advised.


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