Police Abuse

A Cop Shot Her 11-Year-Old Son. Now She Might Lose Custody of Her Kids.

The local prosecuting attorney in Sunflower, Mississippi, is seeking to take away Nakala Murry's three children.


The government is attempting to take away a Mississippi woman's three children after her young son was shot in the chest last year. Bitterly ironic is that it was the government—not the mother, Nakala Murry, or anyone in her company—who did the shooting.

In May 2023, Aderrien Murry, then 11 years old, dialed 911, reportedly at his mother's behest, after her ex-boyfriend, John Nolden, showed up at their house and allegedly started harassing her. But after the arrival of Greg Capers, a police officer in Indianola, Mississippi, things quickly soured further.

Upon hearing Capers' command to come out, Aderrien entered the living room. Almost immediately thereafter, Capers shot him, causing the boy to sustain a collapsed lung, fractured rib, and lacerated liver. (The body camera footage is available here. Judge for yourself if you think the shooting was justified.)

Though Capers was suspended without pay in June, he is still an employee of the Indianola Police Department. A grand jury declined to indict him in December. But consequences may yet be coming. For Nakala Murry.

According to Gwendolyn Jimison, the prosecuting attorney in Sunflower County, Mississippi, an unnamed witness says Nolden assaulted Nakala Murry on multiple occasions and the 911 call that night was thus the "result of the mother and boyfriend domestic violence that have been happening for years [sic]," reported the Mississippi Free Press, which broke this story.

That logic might check out if Nolden had been the one to pull the trigger. But in this case, it appears the government would like to punish a victim for one of its agent's mistakes. "Sgt Capers is glad that the child is recovering and is very sorry that this happened," his lawyer, Michael Carr, said in a statement last June. Police officers are human, and they're going to make errors. But it is bizarre, to put it softly, to further punish the ones who suffered from that error, particularly when considering Capers had been sent to help.

"To have to even think of losing her kids at this point over something that is not her fault is just unbelievable," Carlos Moore, Nakala Murry's attorney, told the Mississippi Free Press on Thursday. "It's outlandish."

Shortly after the shooting, Murry filed a federal lawsuit against Capers, the police chief, the city of Indianola, and other unidentified officers. She may struggle to get before a jury, however, as she will have to beat qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields state and local government employees from civil suits unless their misconduct has been established with exactitude in a prior court precedent, as well as the Monell doctrine, which protects municipalities from liability if the plaintiff cannot prove there was an existing policy on the books that specifically greenlit the alleged government misconduct.

It is another reminder of how difficult it is for victims of government mistakes and abuse to get a semblance of justice. And yet, in cases like Murry's, we are reminded that the reverse standard exists for the public. So on April 17, she must arrive at the Sunflower County Youth Court—and in some sense explain why Capers' mistake should not cost her her children.