Aug 1 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday
that the town of East Haven, Connecticut, is not liable in the
1997 shooting death of an unarmed black man by a police officer.
Emma Jones was awarded $900,000 in damages in 2010 by a
federal jury for the shooting death of her son, Malik Jones. The
town of East Haven appealed that decision.
Reversing a lower court's decision, a unanimous three-judge
panel on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found
the evidence at trial "unquestionably showed instances of
reprehensible and at times illegal and unconstitutional conduct"
by individual East Haven police officers.
But the court ruled that those actions did not demonstrate
that racist behavior was a "custom, policy or usage" of the
town, the standard for municipal liability under federal law.
"The evidence failed to show a pattern of abusive conduct
(or expressions of inclination toward such abusive conduct)
among officers, so widespread as to support an inference that it
must have been known and tolerated by superiors," wrote Justice
Pierre Leval for the court.
The case, in which Jones, a 21-year-old African-American,
was trailed in a police cruiser and later shot to death at close
range by East Haven officer Robert Flodquist, became synonymous
with racial profiling.
Justices Rosemary Pooler and John Walker also sat on the
The consolidated cases are Emma Jones v. Town of East Haven,
2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 10-4731 and 10-4894.
For Jones: David Rosen of David Rosen & Associates.
For East Haven: Nancy Fitzpatrick Myers of Lynch, Traub,
Keefe & Errante.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax)
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