Update at 10 a.m. on Thursday
Video of reaction to the federal appeals court ruling from East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr and town attorneys — as well as David Rosen, the attorney for Malik Jones' mother Emma Jones — has .
Update at 12:30 p.m.
In today's ruling finding the town not liable for Malik Jones' death, the federal appeals court did make note it was well aware of the into the East Haven Police Department for , as well as the by a federal grand jury for alleged civil rights abuses.
In their decision the justices wrote:
"Our ruling on this appeal should not be taken as expressing any view of this court on the question whether the Town of East Haven or its police department discriminated in any way against minorities. A federal appellate court makes no assessment of the true facts. Our court has no investigative authority and does not find facts. It reviews only the record created by the parties in the course of trial. We conclude, for reasons expressed below, that the Plaintiff’s evidence presented at trial was insufficient as a matter of law to establish liability of the Town by reason of a custom, policy, or usage of discrimination or of indifference to discrimination. Whether that is because there is no real discrimination or indifference, or because Plaintiff has simply failed to discover and present evidence of it, is beyond the competence of this court. Our ruling assesses only the sufficiency of the evidence presented at the trial – not the true facts."
Update at 12:15 p.m
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling has been attached to this article.
Update at 11:45 a.m.
East Haven has just released a press release stating the mayor — along with Town Attorney Joseph Zullo and Assistant Town Attorney Hugh Keefe — will hold a press conference at later this afternoon to discuss the findings of the federal appeals court regarding the .
The talk with the media will begin at 3:30 p.m.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has ruled the Town of East Haven is not liable in the 1997 fatal shooting of by an East Haven Police officer, according to an Associated Press report.
The decision, which overturns a lower court's ruling on October 2010 that , was released Wednesday by the federal appeals court.
The AP reported that the 2nd Circuit "found the evidence was insufficient to hold the town liable."
A federal jury awarded $900,000 to the estate of Malik Jones in October 2010, 13 years after a former officer, Robert Flodquist, chased him into New Haven and then shot the 21-year-old dead at close range. Jones was unarmed at the time.
Flodquist later said Jones gave him a "go to Hell" look, and the car may have been slowly rolling backwards, so he thought his life was at risk.
After both the the state's attorney and the the U.S. Department of Justice chose not to pursue criminal charges against the East Haven Police regarding the incident, Malik Jones' mother, , filed a federal lawsuit against the town claiming the police had violated her son's civil rights. In her suit, she argued that the incident was part of a pattern of discriminatory practices by the East Haven Police Department.
Although the initial court decision on the case ruled against the town in Jones' favor — awarding the family $2.5 million in damages — the jury made a technical error. It awarded punitive damages instead of compensatory damages.
Under federal law, a municipality can only be held liable for compensatory damages. So the judge, Alvin W. Thompson, ordered a new trial — not on the guilty verdict — but on whether to award compensatory damages. That second jury found in Jones' favor, awarding the $900,000 in damages.
The Town of East Haven then of that decision, which is what the federal court decided upon in today's ruling.
East Haven Patch will have additional updates as this story continues to develop.
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