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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Officers Aren’t Liable For Death After Ugly Standoff

FRANKFORT, KY. (CN) - The state appeals court granted immunity to Louisville police officers who had to use pepper spray, bean-bag rounds, tear gas, the SWAT team and a police dog to arrest a man armed with a butcher knife and frying pan.

Terry L. Hines,who hadparanoid schizophrenia, seemed "unfazed" after two officers snuck into the back of his house and doused him with "copious amounts" of pepper spray, the ruling states.

Police called in a negotiator, a canine unit and the SWAT team. After an unsuccessful attempt at cajoling him out, the SWAT and canine unit stormed his house, firing bean-bag rounds and releasing the police dog on him. The defendant "barely flinched" at the shots and stabbed the dog with his butcher knife.

He was finally arrested after an officer shot the knife from his hand, while the other officers overpowered him with a fire hose. Hines was taken to a hospital, where he died several weeks later from injuries he received during his arrest.

His estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming the officers used excessive force during the arrest and failed to take Hines' schizophrenia into account.

The court concluded that the "uncontroverted evidence indicates that Hines himself was solely responsible for his demise." See ruling.

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