Friday, February 20, 2004

Suit Against City, Officer Dismissed

By Scott Sandlin, Journal Staff Writer

The city of Albuquerque and a city police officer are the winners in an excessive force lawsuit brought by the father of a girl shot with a Taser gun in 2000.
After two days of jury trial this week in federal court in Roswell, Judge Bobby Baldock granted a judgment Thursday in favor of the city before the defense presented its case.
The lawsuit was filed in 2002 by Andrew Aragon on behalf of his daughter, Christina Aragon, a high school student who was planning to attend a party at a vacant house. APD Officer Jeff Ferner shot the student as she attempted to flee from the home.
Baldock, a senior judge on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, takes some New Mexico federal district court cases.
Baldock dismissed the lawsuit after ruling there was "no legally sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable jury could find for the plaintiff."
According to the lawsuit, Christina Aragon was with friends who "believed they were supposed (to) open the house for a band to set up their equipment."
The Oct. 21, 2000, party at a home in the 900 block of Solano NE had been advertised through a flier circulated at Sandia High School. A copy of the flier was faxed to the Albuquerque Police Department because of satanic references, said Luis Robles, who represented Ferner at trial.
The students did not have permission to be in the vacant house, and APD officers waited at the home to see if anyone would illegally enter, the defense said.
Officers saw several individuals in Hidden Park, which is behind the home, jump the fence and attempt to enter the home.
After Aragon was shot, she underwent emergency surgery to remove metal barbs shot by the Taser, the complaint states. The barbs are connected to a handheld unit by thin wires that pulse electrical current into the target.
"His intention was to hit her in the back (only with the Taser charge), but because she was running down steps one of the barbs hit her in the back," Robles said.
In dismissing the case, Baldock also ruled the city can recover its costs from the plaintiff.

No comments: