The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been locked in a legal battle with the Colorado State Patrol for some time after the death of a man. According to reports, the man was at his home in Grand Junction, Colorado, when police entered the property without a warrant. They shot and killed him during the incident, which occurred in 2010. A wrongful death suit was filed on the man’s behalf by the ACLU and a settlement was recently reached, with the Colorado State Patrol agreeing to pay $1 million.
Reports indicate that two state troopers were investigating an accident that caused damage to a property nearby the deceased man’s home. The officers believed that the man was involved and may have been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Police knocked on his door and the man refused to allow them to enter his home without a warrant. Despite this requirement, the officers kicked the door in with their guns drawn.
The troopers shot and killed him during this incident and later argued that they entered the premises due to the fact that his blood alcohol content would decline over time. Laws allow for certain circumstances during which a police officer may conduct a search without a warrant, if there are pressing factors. According to the settlement reached between the ACLU and the Colorado State Patrol, a declining blood alcohol content is not such a factor.
The two troopers were indicted by a grand jury but criminal charges were never filed. This is why the ACLU filed the wrongful death suit, to pursue the case through the civil system. A portion of the $1 million settlement will be paid to the man’s family while the remainder will be used by the state to afford training programs for its officers to prevent such a situation from happening again.
Source: KDVR, “Colorado State Patrol to pay $1 million in wrongful shooting death settlement,” Will C. Holden, Jan. 7, 2013