Jackson Kuhl on a Court Decision Refusing Immunity to Police Over a Botched Raid


Gonzalo Guizan
Family photo

On a Sunday afternoon in 2008, a tactical police team raided the Easton, Connecticut house of Ronald Terebesi searching for a small amount of personal drugs. While by day's end the police discovered drug paraphernalia and 0.02 ounces of a substance believed to be crack cocaine, an officer also killed Terebesi's unarmed guest, Gonzalo Guizan (pictured), by discharging his Glock sidearm six times until the weapon finally jammed.

Guizan's estate and Terebesi filed civil suits against the officers in the raid, although the estate later settled out of court for $3.5 million. The defendants requested summary judgment based on qualified immunity, which the district court for the most part denied (the court agreed police had lawfully acquired the search warrant and dismissed failure-to-train claims against the town chiefs). The defendants appealed.

On Thursday, writes Jackson Kuhl, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District affirmed most of the lower court's denial of summary judgment.