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Binghamton Wins Appeal In Police Shooting Lawsuit

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Overturned Overturned

A federal judge has overturned a jury's $3 million judgment against the City of Binghamton in a 2011 police shooting of an unarmed Bronx man.

“Insofar as the jury verdict found the Police Officer had not committed battery or used excessive force, there was no basis for a judgment against the City.  While the City anticipates an appeal, we are pleased that the City’s motion for judgment as a matter of law was granted," said Kenneth Frank, Corporation Counsel, City of Binghamton

In January, a jury decided the city owed Plaintiff Jesus Fereira $500,000 in past damages and $2.5 million in future damages. The jury also found Officer Kevin Miller was not negligent.

Miller was the first member of the SWAT team to enter the building. McAvoy writes that the jury believed Officer Miller's testimony that Fereira repeatedly ignored his commands to stay on the ground. And that Miller said he moved towards him with an item he incorrectly thought was a gun. 

McAvoy ruled these actions do not meet the standards for a new trial and denied the Plaintiff's motion.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy found the City of Binghamton was not liable for the officer's actions. McAvoy explained a municipality could only have been held liable in this case if there was established "special relationship" between Fereira and the City of Binghamton. 

"No evidence at trial or in the record indicates that Plaintiff ever had any direct contact with the Binghamton Police or any Binghamton official before the SWAT
team arrived to execute the no-knock warrant. Likewise, no evidence produced at trial indicated that the Defendant City ever took on any particular duty to the Plaintiff. Under those circumstances, no claim against the City for negligence could lie."

 The City was represented by Brian Seachrist and Sharon Sorkin. Fereira's lawyer is Robert Genis. We do not know if Fereira will appeal.

You can read the full decision below.