Tuesday, November 28, 2006

APD Suit Winner Killed a Week Later

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
FOR THE RECORD:This story has been corrected to reflect that Kathyrn Levy is an assistant city attorney.
By Carolyn Carlson
Journal Staff Writer

An Albuquerque man who last week was awarded more than $300,000 in damages in a civil lawsuit against city police has been identified as the man found shot on Fourth Street on Thanksgiving.
Jerome J. Hall, 42, died on the way to the University of New Mexico Hospital after he was found Thursday evening in the 6700 block of Fourth Street, near Osuna, suffering from gunshot wounds, according to Sgt. David Knowles, spokesman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.
Just six days earlier, a U.S. District Court jury awarded Hall $307,030 in damages in an excessive force case against three Albuquerque Police officers.
Hall received second- and third-degree burns when one of the officers used a Taser on him multiple times during his 2002 arrest. Hall lost part of his ear as a result of being burned.
The jury found that officers Tim Gonterman, Sean Higdon and David Hinson used "excessive force" when arresting Hall, according to court documents.
"This is really tragic," said attorney Robert Gorence, who represented Hall in the case. "Here we have someone who had put his life in order and finally had the means to do the things with his kids that he always wanted to do."
Hall did not live in the neighborhood where he was found shot, Gorence said Monday.
After last week's verdict, Hall said he had been addicted to drugs but had quit them and had gone through rehabilitation programs.
Hall said he was going to use the money from the verdict to help his four children and get his life back on track by going back to college in the fall.
Hall said he was a former medical technician and disabled Army veteran.
Gorence said he does not know if Hall had a will. He also said he did not know what city attorneys plan on doing in light of Hall's death.
"There are lots of things that need to be answered," Gorence said.
Assistant city attorney Kathryn Levy said her office is reviewing the case for post-trial motions.
"This is something we would normally do," Levy said.
She said she has never seen something like this before.
In the 2002 incident, Hall's attorneys claimed the officers had no lawful reason to arrest, assault or imprison Hall, saying he was just walking along Central in Nob Hill and complied with all of the officers' orders.
City attorneys claimed in court documents that the officers acted in good faith, using reasonable police procedures and tactics.
Court documents say Gonterman stopped Hall because police had received complaints of narcotic sales by people on foot in the area and that he had observed Hall acting suspiciously.
Knowles said detectives are investigating Hall's shooting as a homicide.
Anyone with any information on the case can remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP.

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