BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A confidential settlement has been reached in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed mentally disabled man shot by police in Kentucky.
The 2012 shooting occurred after 46-year-old Gregory Harrison called police several times to say he wanted to kill his brother, had a gun and needed help. Bowling Green Police officers tracked him down to a set of railroad tracks. He was sweaty, shouting and cried intermittently. He asked to talk to his sister and said “the voices won’t stop.”
Several officers asked him repeatedly to put his hands up. He refused, and kept his left hand stuffed into the back of his pants. The standoff recorded by a dashboard camera in a police cruiser stretched on for 12 minutes until Officer Keith Casada fired a single shot from an AR-15 and hit him in the abdomen. Harrison died later at the hospital.
The Kentucky State Police investigated and submitted their report to prosecutors, which declined to pursue criminal charges. But a federal judge last year allowed the lawsuit to move forward after determining that the shooting was unreasonable because Harrison was committing only minor offenses; he did not advance on the officers or threaten them; and that he was obviously mentally ill and intoxicated.
That ruling was upheld this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
The Daily News of Bowling Green reports that the lawsuit was brought to a close on Aug. 18. It had been filed by Harrison’s estate against the city of Bowling Green and several police officers involved.
“The case is over, but it still burns inside of me,” said Greg Belzley, the attorney representing the estate. “This is not the way law enforcement should treat citizens they are sworn to serve and protect.”
“There’s a lot of responsibility to go around and a lot of questions to be answered by a lot of people,” he said.
Casada left the Bowling Green Police Department in 2014 to become a missionary. The attorney representing the city and the police officers did not respond to newspaper’s request for comment about the settlement.
Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com