|A federal judge on Thursday overturned a jury's verdict
that said police were justified in fatally shooting a Brooklyn man in 1999,
and has ordered a new trial.
Gidone Busch was shot 12 times in Borough Park, Brooklyn, on August 30, 1999 after officers claimed he charged at them with a hammer.
Busch's family later sued the city, saying the five police
officers involved in the shooting used excessive force against the mentally
In a written decision released Thursday afternoon, District Judge Sterling Johnson granted the Busch family a new trial, saying the officers "exaggerated or overstated versions of the events, especially regarding details of the shooting." The judge says there are, "serious questions" about the truthfulness of the officers' testimony.
The Busch family released a statement today through its
attorney saying: "We are gratified by the judge's decision that a new trial
should be granted regarding the excessive force shooting claim and by his
findings, as we contended, that the jury verdict on that issue was so contrary
to the credible evidence that it was a miscarriage of justice."
The city's Corporation Counsel responded in his own statement: "We are extremely disappointed in the judge's decision, which we believe to be wrong both legally and factually. It is for the jury, not the judge, to weigh the credibility of the witnesses. The judge improperly substituted his judgment for that of the jury. The city is weighing all its legal options."
Busch's family sued the city, the Police Department and
the five officers involved in the shooting, citing evidence and witness
The officers involved say Busch ignored their warnings
to drop the hammer. During a three-week civil trial in 2003, lawyers for
the city argued the police had no other choice but to shoot him, saying
the officers were scared for their lives and feared Busch would severely
Jurors ruled that the officers did not violate Busch's constitutional rights by using excessive force.
Source: NY Times