ELOY, Ariz. — A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit against Pinal County in a sheriff’s deputy’s 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed car theft suspect in Eloy.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Tuesday overturns a judge’s ruling that Deputy Heath Rankin had immunity from the lawsuit filed on behalf of 40-year-old Manuel Longoria’s estate and surviving relatives.
The appellate court’s ruling says that’s because jurors need to decide whether Rankin acted reasonably under the circumstances.
The ruling also narrowed the case by saying Longoria’s estate could sue over alleged violation of his constitutional rights but that his relatives couldn’t themselves make those claims.
Rankin shot Longoria in the back during an encounter with officers following a chase. The deputy said he thought Longoria had a gun.