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Appeals court won't reconsider sending Lukus Glenn decision to trial

Three-judge panel ruled that a jury should decide if deputies were at fault in 2006 shooting

A federal appeals court has denied a request to reconsider its decision to send the 2006 police shooting of Lukus Glenn to trial.

On Tuesday, Dec. 27, a three-judge panel with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that it would not look at their decision again, and said that no further petitions for rehearing would be considered.

In November the panel ruled that a jury should decide on the wrongful death lawsuit of 18-year-old Glenn, who was shot to death six years ago during an early morning confrontation with sheriff's deputies.

A few weeks later on Nov. 21, Washington County petitioned the court to review the case again, saying that the panel's decision could set a precedent that would require officers and deputies to withhold action that could save lives, and asked that the case be reheard en banc, meaning that the case would be heard by all the judges of a court instead of just the panel.

The county argued that officers were acting reasonably when they shot Glenn eight times outside his parents' home in Metzger after Glenn refused to drop a knife he had been holding to his own throat.

The panel didn't disagree, but said that there was enough evidence for a jury to come to either conclusion.

'There are material questions of fact about Lukus' and the officers' actions that preclude a conclusion that the officers' rapid resort to deadly force was reasonable as a matter of law,' Judge Raymond Fisher wrote in the courts November opinion. 'Again, the disputed facts and inferences could support a verdict for either party.'

The county also said that situations like the Glenn shooting could not be viewed with '20/20 hindsight' saying that ''woulda, coulda, shoulda' has no place in this Fourth Amendment analysis.'

The panel's decision overturned an earlier district court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit in 2010, which said that the shooting was reasonable, in part because of statements made by Glenn's mother to dispatchers that Glenn 'was threatening to kill everybody' and might 'run at the cops with a knife.'

That information never made it to the deputies at the scene and the panel disagreed with the district courts' assessment, saying that it could not 'consider evidence of which the officers were unaware - the prohibition against evaluating officers' actions 'with the 20/20 vision of hindsight cuts both ways,' the panel wrote in its November ruling.

Hail of bullets

Police reports say that Glenn was drunk, suicidal and armed with a pocket knife when sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call at his parents' home in the 9200 block of Wouthwest 80th Avenue in Metzger on Sept. 16, 2006.

Glenn had reportedly arrived home drunk at about 3 a.m. and flew into a rage when his parents refused to give him keys to his motorcycle.

Sheriff's deputies and a Tigard police officer arrived on the scene after Glenn had smashed the windows of his family's vehicles and busted open the home's front door.

Glenn was found in the driveway holding a 3-inch pocket knife to his own throat and threatening to kill himself.

More than once, deputies warned Glenn he would be shot if he did not put the knife down

Glenn was shot with six beanbag rounds by Tigard police. Before the last beanbag round was fired, the deputies opened fire, firing 11 bullets and striking Glenn eight times.

Glenn died at the scene. The standoff lasted about four minutes.

Glenn's mother, Hope Glenn, sued the two Washington County deputies, Mikhail Gerba and Tim Mateski, in August 2008 in U.S. District Court. The suit was dismissed in June 2010 when a judge in Portland ruled that the shooting was reasonable.

In November's opinion, the judges reversed that dismissal and remanded the case back to U.S. District Court.

The case could go to trial in district court as early as spring, according to Michael Cox, an attorney representing the Glenn family, but the case could be petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court for review.



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