TALLAHASSEE, Fl. – Prominent American civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will represent Jericho the Lion in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who shot and killed Jericho’s brother Cecil while on a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe last July, Mr. Crump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday.
“My client has suffered immense psychological and emotional trauma, not just at the hands of Mr. Palmer who savagely murdered Jericho’s brother in cold blood, but also at the hands of the Zimbabwean government who refused to seek justice for Cecil despite a thunderous outcry from the international community,” Mr. Crump said. “All we’re asking for is justice for Cecil. The world demands justice.”
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Florida’s 2nd Judicial Court, alleges Jericho the Lion suffered emotional and psychological trauma following the murder of his brother Cecil, who was shot multiple times with a crossbow by Mr. Palmer before being left to die alone in the bush. Approximately forty hours later, Mr. Palmer returned and subsequently shot Cecil in the head with a rifle prior to skinning his body and finally decapitating him.
Jericho the Lion is seeking 18,095,000 ZWD, the equivalent of $50,000 USD, in punitive damages from Mr. Palmer. “No more, no less,” Mr. Crump told Wolf Blitzer. “This is the amount Mr. Palmer paid so that he could lure Cecil from his home and execute him like a dog. This man is sick,” said Crump, who added that dentists have the highest suicide rate of any American profession.
As a high-profile civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump, who often works pro bono, has represented a number of victims of gun violence and police brutality, including the families of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice. Most recently, Rice’s death at the hands of Cleveland police was determined by investigators to be “reasonable.” The twelve year-old, who had been playing with an air pistol, was shot and killed by police within seconds of their arrival on the scene.