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Jury awards $2.5 million to Glenn family in wrongful death case

UPDATE: Tigard mother sought $7 million from Washington County, two deputies


by: JONATHAN HOUSE/TIGARD TIMES - Tigard's Hope Glenn hugs supporters outside a federal courtroom Thursday afternoon after jurors ruled in her favor in a wrongful death lawsuit against Washington County and two sheriff's deputies.A federal jury unanimously decided Thursday afternoon that Washington County Deputies Tim Mateski and Mikhail Gerba violated Lukus Glenn’s Fourth Amendment rights when they used deadly force against the Tigard teen.

Damages in the amount of $2.5 million will be awarded to Hope and Brad Glenn, Lukus’ parents.

The jury also found that Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon ratified the deputies’ actions when he signed the administrative report clearing Mateski and Gerba of wrongdoing.

The jury of four men and three women heard seven days of testimony regarding the Sept. 16, 2006, incident during which Hope Glenn called the police for assistance with her drunk and suicidal 18-year-old son. When sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, Lukus was holding a knife to his neck and threatening suicide, and did not respond to the deputies’ repeated commands that he put down the weapon. Mateski and Gerba fired on Lukus within four minutes of Gerba’s arrival on the scene.

by: DAN BROOD - Lukus Glenn before his death in 2006. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the officers had had sufficient warning about the fact that Lukus was intoxicated and suicidal, and that Lukus was not threatening injury to anyone but himself. Further, they charged that deputies did nothing to de-escalate the situation, that they ignored their training on how to respond to a suicidal and intoxicated individual and that use of a Taser, rather than the beanbag shotgun law enforcement used, would have incapacitated Lukus without killing him. They also argued that the deputies’ rationale for firing on Lukus was misguided — Gerba and Mateski stated that Lukus was running toward the house where his family was, while attorneys for the plaintiff claimed that Lukus’ movement toward the house was a natural reaction to the beanbag pellets he was hit with.

Attorneys for the defense tried to prove that Gerba and Mateski were responding to an urgent situation and behaved appropriately when confronted with a deadly weapon.

The jury deliberated for less than a day before returning a verdict to federal Judge Michael W. Mosman. They were instructed to decide whether to award damages based on the “emotional pain and suffering” caused to Lukus’ parents, Hope and Brad Glenn.

Specifically, the jury was instructed to consider whether Lukus’ Fourth Amendment rights, which guarantee protections against “unreasonable search and seizures,” were violated.

According to Michael A. Cox, attorney for the plaintiff, the $2.5 million award will be paid by Washington County, not Gerba and Mateski themselves.

Both Mateski and Gerba remain Washington County Sheriff’s deputies at this time.

“We view this verdict as justice for Lukus, and Hope and Brad,” Cox said outside the courthouse after the verdict.

“It just feels like we finally got justice for Lukus, that we fought really hard for him for six years,” Hope said after the verdict. “We made that decision on that Sept. 16 they took our son away from us. We made that decision that we would fight with every ounce, with everything we had, to try to bring justice.”

“The jury saw the truth,” Brad added.

“It’s justice, not only for Luke, but so that it doesn’t happen to another family, because it’s torture,” Hope said. “It doesn’t ever away. Nothing will ever bring back Luke, but maybe somebody else’s kid won’t get shot.”

When asked how she and her husband sustained themselves through the six-year process of getting their case heard in federal court, Hope said, “We had each other. Brad’s my rock, and he helped me through some really, really hard times. But we also had amazing, amazing attorneys who are also really compassionate. They stuck by us when nobody wanted to believe us.”




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