Flint police shooting victim's claim will go to the jury
Tracy Jefferson was shot by Officer Terry Lewis at her entryway door. She survived, and sued Lewis for damages under state and federal law, alleging negligence and a denial of civil rights. Lewis, responding to reports of New Years Eve gunfire in the neighborhood, claimed he thought Jefferson was shooting at him and also argued that he should be immune from claims of using excessive force against a citizen. On investigation, it was determined that Jefferson did not have a weapon, or even a shiny object in her hand when she opened her door.
The Court of Appeals and the trial court both rejected Lewis' insurer's claim that the case should be dismissed as a matter of law. The Sixth Circuit agreed with the trial court that the jury must decide whether Lewis' actions were "reasonable" under the circumstances, and whether he responded with excessive force to Jefferson opening her door, empty-handed.