Saturday, June 02, 2012

Jury says Officer Jeff Benkert did nothing wrong in shooting crazy man with an ax...But throws the family a million dollars anyhow....

$1M verdict against Bainbridge (Washington State) in fatal shooting of mentally ill man - A federal jury faulted the city of Bainbridge Island for its police training but cleared Officer Jeff Benkert, who fired the shots that killed Doug Ostling, a 43-year-old man who was mentally ill.

Photo: Doug "Coo-Coo Ax Man" Ostling was killed by a Bainbridge Island (Washington State) police officer in 2010.

A federal jury awarded $1 million Friday to the family of a mentally ill man who was killed by a Bainbridge Island police officer, ending a case that has roiled the island for nearly two years.

After three days of deliberation, the eight-member jury faulted Bainbridge and its police chief for inadequate police training in dealing with the mentally ill.

But the jury cleared Officer Jeff Benkert, who fired the fatal shots, against claims he used excessive force and failed to aid Doug Ostling as he slowly bled to death Oct. 26, 2010.

The split verdict pleased the Ostling family, which filed suit after Kitsap County prosecutors did not file criminal charges against Benkert. They claimed Benkert and his partner, David Portrey, unnecessarily provoked a confrontation with Ostling, 43, and then withheld first aid for 77 minutes.

"The family is very happy," said the family's attorney, Nate Roberts. "The message they wanted to send to this Police Department and all others is that they need to train their officers on dealing with the mentally ill. This verdict accomplishes that."

The trial stemmed from a bizarre 911 call placed by Ostling, who lived in an apartment above his parents' garage.

When the two officers made contact with Ostling that night, Ostling was in the doorway of his apartment, holding a double-bladed ax. Benkert fired through Ostling's door after Ostling refused repeated commands to drop the ax.

Ostling's parents, Bill and Joyce Ostling, sued Benkert, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Jon Fehlman and the city of Bainbridge Island, alleging the confrontation and the city's training policies amounted to civil-rights violations.

The jury found in favor of their claim that Benkert and Portrey were poorly trained to deal with the mentally ill. In closing statements, Roberts noted both officers testified they were unfamiliar with the department's guidelines, which instruct police to try to calm, rather than escalate, incidents involving mentally ill people.

The city's lawyers contended Ostling was coming at the officers with the ax in a striking position, and they acted appropriately in the face of a potentially lethal threat.

Fehlman was a target for the family's attorneys during the trial because of an inaccurate media briefing he gave after the shooting, which exaggerated Ostling's actions.

"Rather than tell the truth about what happened that night, they decided to fabricate a story that made them into heroes and Doug Ostling into an ax-wielding maniac," Roberts said during closing arguments earlier this week.

In a statement, the city acknowledged the jury's finding regarding training, and apologized to the Ostling family.

"The city again wishes to extend our sympathies to the Ostling family and to state we are terribly sorry for the loss of Douglas Ostling," Interim City Manager Morgan Smith said in the statement.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gee kinda like the guy I shot and killed at the bus terminal at Midway who was charging me with a tom-a-hawk. One shot. 40 cal center mass,10 feet away. Smith and Wesson 4006. Family is tryin to sue me for 100 million dollars....

Anonymous said...

These jurors are usually retarded assholes giving away money like it was free. i was on a civil trial years back, right when we started to deliberate, sheneqa and shanana ask, so how much can we give the plaintiff? i said nothing right now we have to talk about it first, and if it was up to me she wouldnt be getting anything. needless to say, it was no ghetto lottery that day, i swung the rest of the normal thinking human beings to my way.

Anonymous said...

fucking bottom feeding jew attorneys.

they and the negroes are the ruin of this once great country

Anonymous said...

Hey fuckheads next time some loon is about to attack you call a fuckin attorney or social worker not us i am sure those liberal assholes can talk to your attacker after you are dead. then it can be 19P didnt see anything.

Anonymous said...

It's not like it's any-ones money they're getting, it's the governments money! No wonder we're broke with the thinking like this that permeates our society.

I Voted For Obama said...

Doug Ostling voted for Obama, then wanted to know if he could axe him a question.

Anonymous said...

The court needs to know we don't take this job to get killed. We are shooting to eliminate the threat as WE WERE TAUGHT in the academy!Retarded or not, I'm fuckin shooting!Their weapons don't discriminate! A retards ax can kill ya just like a normal person's!

Anonymous said...

How can any professional be trained to deal with the mentally ill?

By their nature they are unstable and not predictable. I don't know all the facts in this case, still there is no cookie cutter way to handle a confrontation with a mentally ill man who HAS AN AX!!

Bullets don't care of you are crazy or not...

"Anonymous said...

Gee kinda like the guy I shot and killed at the bus terminal at Midway who was charging me with a tom-a-hawk. One shot. 40 cal center mass,10 feet away. Smith and Wesson 4006. Family is tryin to sue me for 100 million dollars...."

Hope you win. If this is some civil beef, by all means counter sue that family for malicious civil prosecution and abuse of process.

Anonymous said...

...and if the officer was gunned down it would be forgotten 4 days after the funeral....but the lib media would be screaming for an insanity/mentally ill defense for the perp. Everybody's a victim today...no matter how bad your deed was....wasn't your fault...I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Hit the lawyer with the axe... case dismissed.

Anonymous said...

So the mentally ill ax wielder was shot dead when the lunatic moved to attack with his edged impact weapon...

Is there any update to what happened to the cartoon Tweety Birds flying around the nut jobs heads? Are the cartoon birds okay or not?!

This gentle soul was just trying to shoo away the birds with his ax, that was all which happened...

VOODOO said...

it wasn't for you it easy for the children?

Coypus said...

I'm part native American?

Do we inventory the scalps separately from parkers and bus checks!

I Voted For Obama said...

Tweety Bird voted for Obama.