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Jury rejects lawsuit brought by family of woman killed by Ore. police

June 29, 2005
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Jury rejects lawsuit brought by family of woman killed by Ore. police

The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore.- A federal jury Tuesday rejected a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the relatives of an unarmed black woman killed by a white officer during a traffic stop - a shooting that provoked racial unrest in the city.

The family of Kendra James sought $12 million from Scott McCollister, who fired the fatal shot May 5, 2003.

McCollister's lawyers argued he was reacting to a fast-moving and dangerous situation involving an out-of-control woman high on a near-lethal dose of cocaine.

"People look to jury verdicts as a win or lose situation. But in this case, there are no winners," police Chief Derrick Foxworth said after the verdict. "This was a situation that resulted in a person's death, caused division within the community and pain for all involved."

McCollister testified he acted instinctively to save his life, and shot James while trying to pull her from a moving car.

The lawyer for the James' family, Milton Grimes, accused McCollister of lying and cast doubt on the testimony of McCollister's fellow officers.

A grand jury in 2003 refused to indict McCollister on criminal charges, although he was suspended without pay for more than five months. The police union protested the discipline as unduly harsh.

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