Two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers will pay a combined $1.2 million to the estate of a man who was shot and killed in his home after a jury determined unreasonable force was used by the officers.
An April 28 jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ordered officers Ian Peterson and Jonathan Horlock to pay $600,000 each to Dorothy Robinson, who is the sister of Daniel Cedars and special administrator of his estate. Judge Richard Young entered final judgment against the officers on Monday.
The lawsuit stemmed from a November 2018 incident in which Cedars, 65, was fatally shot in his doorway around 1:30 a.m. after officers responded to a hang-up 911 call.
The police-action shooting was recorded four minutes after officers arrived. IMPD has contended Cedars shot at officers first while the complaint claims the officers arrived unannounced and shot “indiscriminately.”
Jurors concluded Horlock and Peterson didn’t reasonably fear for their lives or face imminent risk of bodily injury when they fired their guns at Cedars, court documents show.
In 2020, the district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on a Monell claim against the city and on widow Gloria Cloud’s state-law emotional distress claim. The court denied summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claims against Peterson and Horlock.
Cloud, the city and IMPD were no longer parties in the case during the trial.
“While the incident was unfortunate, IMPD contends the officers’ actions were lawful, compliant with department policies and were not negligent,” IMPD said in a statement. “While IMPD respects the jury process, it is disappointed with this verdict. IMPD and its legal counsel are reviewing possible legal next steps.”
Brandon Tate, partner at Waldron Tate Bowen Spandau LLC, and attorneys Jason Shartzer and Shannon Mize of Shartzer Law Firm LLC, represented Robinson.
IMPD confirmed that both officers are still employed on its force. It did not confirm if the police department will pay the $1.2 million or if each officer will pay in their individual capacities.
Horlock is also currently awaiting trial on excessive force allegations regarding a separate incident. He has been criminally charged with felony battery, perjury, official misconduct and obstruction of justice for his actions during a Black Lives Matter protest in May 2020.
The jury trial in State of Indiana v. Jonathan Horlock, 49D32-2008-F5-025144, is scheduled for July 18.