CINCINNATI (CN) - Officers in Detroit could be held liable for using excessive force after they shot and wounded an unarmed man having a barbecue in his own backyard, the 6th Circuit ruled.
A three-judge panel denied summary judgment to Officers Emmett Quaine and Juan Reynoso Jr., who opened fire on Ronald Floyd after a neighbor mistakenly reported that Floyd had brandished a gun.
The "gun" turned out to be a three-foot silver fence pole that Floyd used to intimidate Jerry Wilmer, Floyd's upstairs neighbor, who threatened to throw a metal lawn chair at Floyd during their dispute over a blocked driveway.
Wilmer called police to report that Floyd had threatened him with a shotgun.
Quaine and Reynoso arrived at dusk and saw Floyd walking toward the house with his hands outstretched in front, purportedly to swat cobwebs from a nearby tree. Floyd claims the officers fired without warning, hitting him in the chest.
Quaine claimed he had reason to believe Floyd had a gun, while Reynoso said he fired thinking Floyd had shot Quaine.
The court ruled that reasonable jurors could conclude that "both officers used deadly force against (Floyd) without warning, despite the fact that he was in his own backyard and posed no danger to anyone."
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