Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Federal 2nd Court of Appeals rules that SWAT teams are not protected by "qualified immunity" when responding with unnecessary and inappropriate force.


This case was from a no knock warrant with stun grenades and will set national precendent

A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that Connecticut police cannot claim immunity to quash lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from a botched 2008 raid by a SWAT team that severely injured a homeowner and killed his friend.
The decision by the U.S. 2nd Court of Appeals in New York clears the way for a judge to decide whether five suburban Connecticut police departments violated the constitutional rights of homeowner Ronald Terebesi by using excessive force.
On May 18, 2008, a heavily armed SWAT - or special weapons and tactics - team unit knocked down Terebesi's door, threw stun flash grenades into his Easton home and fatally shot 33-year-old Gonzalo Guizan of Norfolk as the two men watched television.
Guizan, who was visiting the home, died after being shot a half dozen times.
“The court ruling here is going to be relied upon in other courts throughout the country," Gary Mastronardi, a Bridgeport attorney who represents Terebesi, said on Tuesday. "They set up the parameters that define the extent to which qualified immunity can be asserted by police in SWAT cases."
In a 51-page ruling that upholds a lower court decision, the appeals court said the police responded with unnecessary and inappropriate force and under the circumstances, are not protected by "qualified immunity" from the lawsuits.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that government officials have qualified immunity against civil damages if their conduct does not violate someone's legal or constitutional rights.

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