Man shot by Calif. police files lawsuit
The shooting happened when Lafayette officers responded to a series of 911 hang-up calls
By Henry Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — A man who was shot and wounded last year by Lafayette police filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday against the city and Contra Costa County.
Michael Schock, 28, was shot April 2, 2013, at his family's home on the 3400 block of Woodview Drive, west of St. Marys Road.
The shooting happened when Lafayette police officers Steve Harrison and Michael Marshall responded to a series of 911 hang-up calls. Dispatchers weren't able to get any information because the caller disconnected each time, Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen has said.
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, attorney Stan Casper said Schock suffers from emotional problems and had thrown some personal items out of is bedroom window "in frustration, startling family members" and prompting his sister to call 911. She believed she needed help, but "immediately hung up when she realized that (her brother) had calmed down," the suit said.
When the two officers arrived at the home, they saw Schock standing near the open front door and asked him to take his hands out of his pockets, the suit said. Schock complied and removed a knife from his pocket before returning inside, the complaint said.
When the officers were detaining his sister's boyfriend, James Marin, outside the home, Schock, "partly as a result of his fragile emotional state, feared for the safety and condition of Marin and came outside the house," the suit said.
Harrison "reacted to plaintiff coming out of the house" by trying to shock Schock with a Taser stun weapon, the suit said. Schock then grabbed a kitchen broom "and continued to move toward the police" before dropping the broom, the suit said.
But Schock continued to approach Harrison "without the broom," and Harrison shot Schock "at close range in his abdomen and thigh," according to the suit. Schock underwent surgery and was hospitalized for two weeks.
"It was not objectively reasonable to use deadly force, as plaintiff was unarmed and did not present a threat of imminent serious bodily injury or death" to the officers or anyone else at the scene, the suit said.
The complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, names the city of Lafayette, Christensen, Harrison, Marshall and the county as defendants. The Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement services to Lafayette. The defendants haven't responded to the suit in court.
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