Dave Kolpack, Associated Press, Published September 19 2012
Man shot in head by police files suitFARGO – A military veteran who was shot by Jamestown police after he came out of his apartment carrying a shotgun claims in a federal lawsuit that he never aimed the gun at anyone and police used excessive force.
Michael Partlow, who was shot in the head, was hospitalized for about three weeks following the September 2010 shooting. A jury later convicted him on a charge of terrorizing but found he did not attempt to inflict bodily injury.
“We feel like the jury in that case really spoke to what we’re bringing now, that the police were really trying to justify their actions with the criminal case,” Partlow’s attorney, Timothy O’Keeffe, said Wednesday. “And the jury’s decision basically, without saying it, told us they weren’t really justified.”
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, names Jamestown officers Joseph Stadler, Michael Craig and Sidney Mann, as well as the city of Jamestown. It was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Fargo.
Jamestown city attorney Ken Dalsted did not respond to requests for an interview.
Partlow, 29, had been making suicidal threats after a night of drinking, and his sister called police while he was locked in the apartment. He eventually came out of the apartment building carrying a shotgun and talking on his cellphone to his grandmother, his attorneys said.
Partlow was “startled and surprised” to see the officers there, according to the lawsuit, and claims he was bending down to place the gun on the ground when police opened fire. The suit said police fired about 10 rounds.
Police testified in the criminal trial that Partlow pointed the gun at them.
One bullet went in Partlow’s left temple and exited below the right eye, causing him to lose his left eye. He also suffered gunshot wounds to his hip, calf and hands, and the injury to his hands required the amputation of two fingers and a thumb, according to the suit.
“Officers clearly used excessive force” that was “unreasonable, unjustified under the circumstances, and resulted in severe injury to the plaintiff,” the lawsuit argues. It also accuses the city of Jamestown of doing a poor job of training and supervising its police officers.
Partlow was convicted of terrorizing after a jury trial in March. He received a suspended sentence and was ordered to serve five years of supervised probation, pay $550 in fees and complete 150 hours of community service.
Partlow apologized during sentencing in the criminal case for affecting people with his actions.
“He was going through a lot of personal issues,” said O’Keeffe, of Fargo. “He’s a good guy. He hadn’t had a drink in years. He had a bad night and he drank. He was threatening himself.”
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