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Posted: 11/27/2001 9:09:46 PM EDT
Look at the ruling in the Columbine lawsuit against the Sheriff's Dept. [size=4]Judge dismisses most claims against sheriff in Columbine lawsuits[/size=4] By Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer A federal judge today dismissed a series of lawsuits brought by families of students who both died and survived the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School rampage. But, the judge blasted inaction by sheriff's department commanders during the tragedy, saying that "their deliberate indifference" to the plight of critically wounded teacher Dave Sanders was "shocking to the conscience of this federal court.'' In a scathing 49-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock refused to throw out the lawsuit brought by Sanders' daughter, Angela, against the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Jefferson County commissioners and individual command officers, saying that for more than three hours they blocked efforts to rescue Sanders, who they knew was critically wounded. Sanders, who had run into the school cafeteria and told the students to evacuate, was shot twice in the back by Dylan Klebold. He ultimately died from his wounds while awaiting rescue. The tragedy resulted in the deaths of 12 students and Sanders, and in serious injuries to at least 24 others. Both Klebold and fellow killer Eric Harris committed suicide. Babcock fashioned his opinions in the other cases around years of earlier rulings that have given school districts and law enforcement agencies almost impenetrable immunity in cases where individuals are killed by hostage takers or other students. In only the most egregious circumstances, U.S. courts have held, can law enforcement agencies and school districts be held responsible. "The sheriff defendants were confronted with an unprecedented and rapidly evolving violent situation, reasonable persons could not conclude that the sheriff defendants' conduct was so extreme in degree, as to be 'atrocious' and 'utterly intolerable,' Babcock wrote. "Holding police officers liable in hindsight for every injurious consequence of their actions would paralyze the functions of law enforcement," he wrote in another of the nine decisions. But in permitting the Sanders case to go forward, Babcock said it was clear to him that commanders blocked access to Sanders and his rescue from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m., despite his deteriorating medical condition and readily accessible location. - continued -
Link Posted: 11/27/2001 9:10:33 PM EDT
Babcock said that sharpshooters reported to the commanders at 12:30 p.m. that they had seen Harris and Klebold commit suicide. Despite that, and the valiant attempts by students and teachers with Sanders to get help, the commanders "forbade the resources at their command from coming to the aid of Dave Sanders for more than three hours," said Babcock. The commanders directed dispatchers talking to the people with the gravely wounded Sanders to not leave Science Room 3 and told them that help would arrive in "about 10 minutes." During those three hours, students and teachers were constantly on phones to dispatchers telling them of Sanders' grave condition. To remove any possibility of confusion as to Sanders' location, a fellow teacher placed a large white sign in the window, on which was written in large capital letters: "I BLEEDING TO DEATH." When help did not arrive, said Babcock, a teacher in the room left seeking help and encountered a SWAT team member who - acting on orders of the commanders - shoved the teacher back inside the building. Babcock, who was clearly appalled by the testimony he heard at an earlier hearing, noted: "Dave Sanders was the last wounded person reached by police or rescue personnel despite being the only individual known to the command defendants to be in urgent need of emergency life-saving medical treatment whose life could have been saved." In a press release, Jefferson County noted it had asked Babcock to dismiss the nine pending lawsuits and that he "ruled in favor of the county in all but one of those cases." "On behalf of the employees named in these lawsuits, we are relieved to have this matter decided," said acting County Attorney Bill Tuthill. "The people responsible for these murders are Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and to place the blame on anyone else causes only pain and injustice." Attorney James Rouse, who represents several victims' families, was disappointed in the decision. "We're in a situation now where we may never know what happened at Columbine," he said. The victims' relatives and survivors alleged the sheriff's office failed to investigate alleged threats and crimes by the two gunmen a year before the rampage and botching their response. Babcock's decision came on motions to dismiss filed by the sheriff's department and school officials, who contended they were shielded from liability by the state governmental immunity law. See article at:[url] http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1002,53%257E241367,00.html[/url] Eric The(ContrastThisCaseWithOtherSchoolShootingCa­ses)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 11/27/2001 9:13:24 PM EDT
All the more reason
Link Posted: 11/28/2001 5:18:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER: All the more reason
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for what?
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