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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ind. Decisions - "Police lawsuit in ’05 death OK’d: Officers broke inside, shot suicidal man; family claims excessive force"

The 7th Circuit decision April 5th in the case of Estate of Rudy Escobedo v. Binder (see ILB entry here) is the focus of a long story today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, reported by Rebecca S. Green. The story begins:

A lawsuit connected to the fatal police shooting of a Fort Wayne man inside his apartment will proceed to a jury – at least the part about how police entered Rudy Escobedo’s home in July 2005.

A federal appeals court upheld a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Theresa Springmann to allow the excessive-force portion of a multipronged lawsuit to proceed.

The lawsuit, filed in late 2005 by Escobedo’s family, alleges police violated Escobedo’s constitutional rights by using excessive force and causing his wrongful death. It named the police department, the city of Fort Wayne and a number of Fort Wayne police officers as defendants, including deputy chiefs Martin Bender and Douglas Lucker.

In 2008, Springmann dismissed the wrongful-death claims against the city of Fort Wayne, the police department and specific officers for their actions related directly to Escobedo’s shooting. But she allowed the excessive-force claims to continue against some of the officers individually.

Attorneys for the officers appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which issued a ruling this week upholding Springmann’s decision to allow the excessive-force claims.

The higher court called into question the actions of the police officers, specifically those in command at the scene, and ruled a jury should have the opportunity to hear the case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 7, 2010 10:54 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions