Parents sue Marietta police officers, Motel 6 for son's shooting death

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of Rafael Esteban Ramirez, an Atlanta man killed by Marietta police officers during an encounter at Motel 6 on Delk Road on July 7, 2022.

"They said they saw him rolling some type of cigarette possibly cannabis," said Rachel Kaufman, an attorney representing the parents of Ramirez.  

ORIGINAL STORY: Police kill driver who pinned officer with car at Marietta motel, GBI says

The lawsuit was filed by Rafael L. Ramirez and Yolandita L. Malave, both individually and as anticipated administrators of the Estate of Raphael Esteban Ramirez.

"He was drafted out of high school to the NY Mets. He got a lot of fame really young. He ended up playing in the minor leagues for a period of time," said Kaufman.  

The defendants are G6 Hospitality (Motel 6), the City of Marietta, Police Officer Amanda Hines, and Police Officer Jared Foster.

Investigators stated that when police confronted 26-year-old Ramirez, a former baseball player drafted by the New York Mets out of high school, he attempted to drive away by putting his car in reverse. After hitting a police vehicle, Ramirez reportedly put his car into drive and accelerated, pinning an officer between his car and the police vehicle. The police officers then opened fire on Ramirez, who was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. 

"As he's attempting to pull away, she's pulling out her gun, before she makes any contact with her own car or his vehicle, she fires two shots into the car. She kind of wedged herself between the two vehicles," said Kaufman.  

According to the lawsuit, Ramirez was legally parked in the motel's parking lot with a friend when the two police officers arrived. Officer Foster reportedly parked his patrol car in the middle of the parking lot, and Officer Hines parked directly behind Ramirez's car.

The lawsuit claims that the officers were not called to the motel to investigate or respond to any reported crime or ongoing criminal behavior. It also asserts that the officers did not attempt to determine if the vehicle was stolen or the subject of any pending criminal investigation before blocking it in.

"The more they double down on them believing they were justified, the more I feel like this lawsuit needs to go forward," said Kaufman.

The police officers then demanded Ramirez's identification and ordered him to exit his vehicle without providing an explanation. The lawsuit says that Ramirez was trying to flee the "unlawful detention." It claims Ramirez tried to avoid hitting Officer Hines' illegally parked patrol car and made "slight contact" with a Motel 6 patron's car instead. Next, Ramirez's car made slight contact with Hines' patrol car at a very slow rate of speed.

"Their son never intended to hurt anyone, didn't have a gun, they just want to see some accountability," said Kaufman.  

At this time, Officer Hines, who was allegedly "in no way scared of being hit by the vehicle herself," can supposedly be seen in dash cam video pulling out her weapon, wedging herself between her car and Ramirez's vehicle, and firing her gun into the driver's window several times "prior to the vehicle making any contact with her." 

The lawsuit states that it was clear from Hines' reaction that she was "not in remote fear" for her own life or the life of anyone else and that she "chose to remain extremely close" to the slow-moving fleeing vehicle. It also claims the police officer fell to the ground for "maximum drama effect and the benefit of optics." At this time, Officer Foster also began shooting into the slowly moving vehicle.


Officer Hines later told investigators that she did not have time to turn on her body camera. Officer Foster says he turned his on, but no video has been provided to the plaintiffs. Motel 6 claims their cameras were not working. Several witnesses who filmed portions of the incident were reportedly instructed by Motel 6 employees not to give the video to police or speak to any news outlet, or they would be placed on Motel 6's Do Not Rent list.

The lawsuit claims that Ramirez's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated and that the officers acted with malice, using excessive force, and showing indifference to human life. The City of Marietta is accused of failing to adequately train its police officers on the use of deadly force, especially against fleeing vehicles. Motel 6 is accused of failing to provide adequate security measures and allowing police to conduct unconstitutional detentions and searches on their property, in addition to not maintaining operational surveillance cameras, which could have provided evidence of the incident.

The lawsuit seeks compensation, including economic and noneconomic damages; punitive damages against the individual defendants for willful and wanton acts; and attorney's fees and other legal costs. 

According to the Marietta Police Department, three separate reviews were conducted after the shooting:

  1. A fact finding investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI Case #10-0005-34-23).
  2. A review by the Cobb County Grand Jury which included testimony by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
  3. An internal affairs investigation by the Marietta Police Department – results attached – conclusion on page 11.

All three reviews resulted in a finding that the force used by officers involved in the incident was justified and lawful, according to MPD. The Marietta Police Department said they will be making no further comments about this incident due to pending litigation.

G6 Hospitality/Motel 6 told FOX 5 Atlanta they have not been served with the lawsuit at this time. They also said that the property was an independently owned and operated franchise at the time of the incident, and it is no longer associated with the Motel 6 brand.

"There is nothing more important to us than the safety and security of our hotel teams, guests, and the communities in which we operate," said a G6 Hospitality spokesperson.