The parents of a dead Spelman College sophomore want Clark Atlanta University to pay them for pain and suffering they and their daughter suffered after the 19-year-old woman was hit by a stray bullet while walking on the CAU campus.
Constance Franklin and Clint Ronald Lynn, parents of Jasmine Lynn, filed a lawsuit Thursday saying there should have been better security on the Clark Atlanta campus, which is in a high-crime area just west of downtown.
Attorney Roderick Edmond said the parents never expected their daughter to come home to Kansas City, Mo., “in a box.” And if there had been more security patrols, if more campus roads were closed and if there were more security cameras, “this element that wandered onto the campus wouldn’t have been there,” and Lynn would be alive.
Clark Atlanta spokeswoman Jennifer Jiles declined to comment. “We have not been served with the legal documents. And the university does not comment on pending legal matters,” Jiles said.
Lynn was shot Sept. 3 by a stray bullet moments after she left a dorm on the Clark Atlanta campus, one of four schools in the Atlanta University Center complex.
Devonni Manuel Benton, a 21-year-old ITT Technical Institute student, has been charged with her slaying. He and his family say that Benton was not the shooter. They say homicide detectives have the name of the man who fired the bullet that struck Lynn some distance away.
According to police, Benton and his friends were walking near the campus when they got into a fight with a group of Clark Atlanta students. Police said Benton fired six times as he retreated down the street, possibly trying to scare someone.
Lynn was hit in the chest, and a friend walking with her, 18-year-old Clark Atlanta student Jerome Jones, was wounded in the wrist.
Benton was arrested a month later and was indicted on Oct. 16.
According to the lawsuit filed in Fulton State Court, the college knew how dangerous the streets were but did nothing to warn students or to make the area safer.
“This is not the first time this has happened at Clark Atlanta. Something needs to be done, Franklin, the mother, said at a news conference.
She said there was much more security at the neighboring campuses of Spelman College and Morehouse College.
“They want accountability for the death of their child,” Edmond said.
Said Franklin, “no money amount can heal my pain.”
The suit said Clark Atlanta “failed to exercise ordinary care to properly secure” the campus even though this type of crime was “foreseeable.”
The suit said Lynn, a psychology major with a 3.8 grade point average, was careful but unaware of the dangers.
Without specifying an amount, the parents are asking to be paid for “the full value of their daughter Jasmine Lynn’s life, including economic damages of loss of earning capacity and non-economic damages, including loss of enjoyment of life.”
The parents asked to be reimbursed for funeral and burial expenses and any physical and emotional “pain suffering and anxiety” Lynn suffered before her death.