Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cops who shot gun owner denied immunity

The title of this post comes from this article about a gun owner who was shot by sheriff's deputies when he stepped outside his cousin's home with his gun to investigate the noises he had heard. As the Courtroom News Service reported at the time, he filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's department:

He seeks punitive damages for excessive force, unwarranted use of deadly force, illegal search and entry, illegal seizure, racial discrimination, assault, battery, negligence and due process violations.

The sheriff's office asserted qualified immunity because of their belief that the man had been armed, but the judge rejected that claim.

The parties dispute whether the plaintiff actually had fired a shot after he stepped outside.

The article begins:

Sheriff's deputies must face claims related to their shooting of a man who heard possible intruders outside his home and stepped out with a gun to investigate, the 4th Circuit ruled.

The decision notes that George Cooper Sr. had been at the mobile home of his cousin, Paul Herring, on May 2, 2007, in rural Leland, N.C., after they spent the better part of the day repairing the floor of a nearby relative's home.

Before dinner, the men relaxed in Cooper's backyard, "talking about '[f]ootball games [and] old fights," Judge Robert King wrote for the three-judge appellate panel.

"Cooper may have enjoyed the mid-spring evening a little too much, smoking marijuana laced with cocaine, and chasing 'three or four beers' with a pint of Brandy," he added.

It was just after 11 p.m. when a neighbor called 911 to report that an altercation was occurring on Cooper's property. The dispatchers then related the call to Brunswick County Sheriff's deputies James Sheehan and Brian Carlisle.

14th Amendment, Excessive Force, Search | Permalink


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