BRUNSWICK – The family of a St. Simons Island man that a Glynn County police officer shot and killed in a three-hour standoff last year is suing the county, the officer and Police Chief Matt Doering asserting they violated the mentally ill man’s civil rights.

Martin “Marty” Reagin was legally drunk, taking medication for bipolar disorder that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol and angry when Glynn police Sgt. Craig Brown shot him to death at his St. Simons Island home on Sept. 10, 2009. Reagin, who several officers saw with weapons, had made numerous threats to kill officers, over the phone and in person. The confrontation started over an illegal yard sign.

Brown believed the lives of fellow officers were in danger when he fired his 12-gauge shotgun four times at Reagin as he ran into his home following a confrontation with department SWAT officers, police, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and grand jury probes found.

Reagin died of a single shotgun pellet to the heart, an autopsy showed.

In a federal lawsuit Monday, Reagin’s family accuse Brown, Doering and Glynn County of using excessive force that resulted in Reagin’s wrongful death. Police knowingly violated Reagin’s civil rights, ignored then exacerbated his unstable mental condition and provoked him into a violent situation that ended with his death, according to the lawsuit.

Reagin’s family also accused the defendants of conspiring to cover up the excessive force used against Reagin, who the lawsuit described as a 46-year-old real estate investor and businessman.

Darla Y. Reagin, the mother and legal guardian of Reagin’s young daughter who is his only living heir, and Ronald K. Reagin, the executor of his estate filed the lawsuit.

Reagin’s family doesn’t specify how much compensation they want as damages.

The suit was filed Jan. 6 but was sealed until Monday because it originally identified Reagin’s daughter, a minor, by her full name. On Monday, the family’s lawyer, Daniel Snipes of Statesboro, filed a version of the suit that identifies the girl only by her initials, A.M.R.

Darla Reagin says Reagin’s daughter is entitled to damages for her father’s “humiliation, anxiety, fear and shock resulting from [the] defendants’ intentional and illegal conduct.” The girl also is entitled to “special damages to compensate her for the lost earnings” of her father, the suit states.

Ronald Reagin, in the suit, says he also deserves special damages to compensate Reagin’s estate for “treatment related to Reagin’s injuries” resulting from the standoff, and for burial and funeral costs as a result of his death.

The lawsuit does not detail police and witness accounts reported in the news media that Reagin brandished a high-powered rifle and threatened police and himself during the standoff at his home on Ocean Boulevard on St. Simons.

The shooting was the subject of a Glynn police internal investigation and a separate Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe. A Glynn County grand jury also reviewed it.

In an unanimous presentment filed Feb. 10, 2010, the grand jury determined Glynn police officers “acted reasonably and appropriately” under the circumstances and said there was no wrongdoing.

The presentment mirrors the findings of the GBI and police department internal investigations. Both found no wrongdoing by Brown or other police officers in the shooting.

The standoff began when county code enforcement officers Mickey Milton and Robin Hummel stopped to advise Reagin of a sign ordinance violation.

Both later told investigators that Reagin accosted and verbally berated and threatened them after they stopped to advise him that an advertising sign in front of his home violated the county’s zoning ordinance.

In a 911 call requesting police backup, Milton is heard saying, “This guy here, we’re fixing to have to whip his *****.”

Reagin’s family in the suit says that Milton and Hummel provoked the escalating circumstances resulting in his death. Neither Milton nor Hummel, however, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Due in large part to his mental illness, that “extreme provocation” from Milton and Hummel was too much for Reagin in his mental state to handle, the suit states.

The family also says that Doering and other police officers at the scene ignored Reagin’s girlfriend, Robin Fendig, when she told them Reagin suffered from bipolar disorder.

“At no point during this entire episode did Glynn County police seek the assistance of a mental health professional, nor did they contact any person with training or knowledge of handling individuals who are in the midst of a mental health crisis,” the lawsuit states.

In addition, the family says the county failed to provide adequate training to police about how to properly arrest people with mental illnesses, according to the lawsuit.

The county grand jury didn’t name any code enforcement officers in its presentment last year but it recommended an immediate overhaul of code enforcement and urged the Glynn County Commission to mandate all code enforcement officers undergo training in how to deal with irate customers.

Rules for the Southern District of Georgia forbid parties from commenting on pending cases outside the court.