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Judge dismisses Taser lawsuit
Ruling says officer was "entitled to qualified immunity" from liability when he shot man with the stun gun.

Date published: 3/6/2008

BY FRANK DELANO

A federal judge has dismissed a $4.5-million lawsuit filed by a man who was Tasered by a former Colonial Beach police officer in 2005.

In a decision filed today, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said former Sgt. Ryan Hood was "entitled to qualified immunity" from liability when he shot James E. Keller with the stun gun.

"Reasonably believing that Keller posed a threat, it was appropriate to shoot Keller with the Taser," Hudson wrote in his opinion.

Keller, who suffers from a brain disorder, was shot on Irving Avenue after he had spent two hours wading in the Potomac River and eluding police in boats. He suffered severe head injuries when he fell to the pavement.

In 2006, a federal grand jury indicted Hood and former Colonial Beach Police Chief Courtlandt A. Turner on criminal charges arising from the incident. Both officers were acquitted of all charges last year.

Turner retired at the beginning of this year. Hood resigned from the department in July 2007, the same month Keller filed his civil lawsuit against Hood, Turner and the Town of Colonial Beach.

In October, the town and Turner were dropped as defendants in the suit. A trial of the lawsuit against Hood had been scheduled next week.

Frank Delano: 804/333-3834
fpdelano@gmail.com