Widows of slain officers sue Sheriff Rutherford

TAMPA, Fla. - The widows of two slain Tampa Police officers have filed a wrongful death suit against Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford for damages in excess of $15,000.

The two women say the negligence of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office "substantially contributed" to their husbands' deaths. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday.

Officials say the officers had stopped a car driven by Dontae Morris' girlfriend on a traffic violation but were questioning Morris, who was in the passenger seat, about three active worthless checks warrants from Jacksonville. Police say as the officers tried to arrest Morris on the warrants, Morris shot them.

The lawsuit says authorities determined Morris was in prison when the bad checks were written.

The suit says the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office never took the warrants out of the state system.

"Although the deaths are undeniably tragic, it is not the fault of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office," city attorney Howard Maltz said in a statement. "It was the result of a cold-blooded killer who will hopefully face justice in the near future."

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