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1.12.2012

Howd & Ludorf, LLC Wins Summary Judgment in Police Deadly Force Case

Howd & Ludorf, LLC Partner Martha Shaw recently won summary judgment in a federal civil rights case brought in U.S. District Court in Hartford against the Rocky Hill Police Department.  In Greenwald v. Rocky Hill, et al.,  Rocky Hill police officers responded to Greenwald’s home when his girlfriend reported to the police that he was going to commit suicide with a gun.  Officers responded and found Greenwald in possession of a shotgun.  After refusing orders to drop his weapon, Greenwald fled through neighboring yards, and eventually ran toward 2 officers in a wooded area with his gun raised.  The officers fired two rounds at Greenwald as he lunged forward, striking his clothing but not his body. Greenwald asserted the use of deadly force was excessive, in violation of the 4th Amendment.  Attorney Shaw countered that the use of deadly force was reasonable and justified under the circumstances, arguing  that a reasonable police officer would have concluded he was at risk of serious physical injury given that Greenwald had disobeyed commands to drop his weapon, and raised the weapon in their direction, prior to the officers use of deadly force.  United States District Judge Vanessa Bryant agreed in a 37 page decision, and entered summary judgment for the defendants.

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