102 North College, Suite 900, Tyler Texas 75702
Phone: 903-597-8311

Chief of Police and City Cleared in Fatal Shooting

Glenn Thames recently obtained a favorable decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals clearing an East Texas City and its Police Chief of any responsibility in connection with a fatal shooting.

Responding to a call in a mobile home park, police found a man in a disturbed state and wielding a small sword. Surrounded by officers, the man repeatedly threatened to kill himself and refused the officers’ commands to put down the sword. In an effort to save the man from turning the sword on himself or committing “suicide by cop”, the Chief of Police fired one shot into the man’s arm forcing him to drop the sword. The officers were then able to subdue the man and transport him to the hospital in an ambulance that had been called to the scene. Unfortunately, despite the officers’ efforts, the man later died at the hospital.

The man’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the City and the Police Chief alleging violations of constitutional rights. The defendants were represented in the trial court by firm member Blake Armstrong who turned to Glenn for assistance with a motion for summary judgment. After the motion was granted by United States District Judge T. John Ward, the plaintiffs appealed. Glenn then successfully defended the victory on appeal to the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the judgment clearing the defendants.