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7th Circuit: Gunman’s reach for weapon nullifies excessive force claim

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A federal court in South Bend rightfully rejected a civil rights claim brought by a man shot by state troopers trying to serve a warrant who found themselves in a six-hour armed standoff, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Gary W. Helman filed a federal suit claiming his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated and that Indiana State Police used excessive force when they shot him multiple times at his home in Cromwell. Helman displayed a weapon after authorities arrived, and the standoff ensued.

Helman ventured outside his house after a few hours, and police deployed a flash bang device. According to the District Court opinion, at that point Helman pulled his gun and police responded by shooting him. Helman later pleaded guilty to a Class D felony charge of resisting law enforcement.

In Gary W. Helman v. Bruce Duhaime, 12-3428, Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner wrote that District Judge William C. Lee properly granted summary judgment in favor of the law-enforcement defendants on the basis that Helman’s guilty plea to the resisting charge constituted admission that he reached for his weapon before police fired.

“Helman is left, then, with an argument under § 1983 that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights in shooting him when he was reaching for his firearm,” Rovner wrote. “That claim, however, cannot survive summary judgment because such a response is objectively reasonable.”
 

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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