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Posted: 1/8/2006 5:18:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2006 5:19:27 PM EDT by Airwolf]
www.macombdaily.com/stories/010606/loc_lawsuit001.shtml

Woman in high-speed chase sues police for shooting her

Bullets paralyze driver; attorney says cops used excessive force

PUBLISHED: January 6, 2006

By Jameson Cook
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

A woman who was left a paraplegic after being shot several times by Warren police in the moments following a high-speed car chase has accused officers of using excessive force in a lawsuit filed in Macomb County Circuit Court.

Carmen Mattera recently sued the city of Warren and police officers Paul Houtos, Kenneth Marsee, Richard James Schnur and Greg Booten for the Jan. 4, 2003, shooting incident on Interstate 696 near the Oakland-Macomb counties border. She claims violations of her constitutional right to due process, equal protection, and to enjoy life and liberty.

"Why did they fill her car with bullets?" her attorney, Ira Saperstein, told The Macomb Daily. "Why were they shooting at her 30 or 40 times? They have her car surrounded. She can't go anywhere.

"The police instigated this attack on her. This case will be about what constitutes excessive force."

Warren Police Chief Danny Clark declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Mattera, 45, a Warren native who had been living in Roseville, was charged with two counts of attempted murder, fleeing police and assault with a dangerous weapon, among other offenses. She was found "not guilty by reason of insanity" about 10 months later following a 1-day bench trial in front of Macomb County Circuit Judge Donald Miller.

"Ms. Mattera was substantially incapable of appreciating the nature, quality and wrongfulness of her actions as well as conforming her behavior to the requirements of the law," George Watson, a forensic psychologist for the state Center for Forensic Psychiatry, says in a report, according to court records. Watson says Mattera, who graduated from Warren Mott High School in 1978 and had attended Oakland Community College, had an average level of intellectual ability.

Avoiding jail or prison time, she currently is living in an adult foster care facility "on the west side of the state," Saperstein said.

"She's disabled for life; she's still a young woman," Saperstein said.

The incident began as a family dispute regarding her parents that went from her to her brother's residence on Martin Road in Roseville. Her brother, nine years older than her, called police, saying that his sister had pointed a gun at him and had fled in a Chevy Malibu. Mattera refused to stop for police on Gratiot Avenue, speeding away at speeds up to 110 mph first on westbound I-696 then on eastbound I-696, where Madison Heights police used "stop sticks" to puncture the tires of her car and caused it to crash into a freeway wall.

Officers Houtos and Marsee said they fired their guns in response to seeing smoke or a fire flash coming from the end of the barrel of the .38-caliber handgun being held by Mattera in the car. Schnur testified in a 37th District Court hearing that he approached the vehicle to find a bleeding Mattera lying across the front seat with a revolver in her hand.

"She turned her head in my direction and raised the gun directly at me," Schnur testified. He yelled to fellow officers that she had a gun, and he fired "three or four" rounds in her direction as he retreated.

More than 400 rounds of ammunition for her handgun were found in her car. Mattera told the psychologist that she had kept all of her belongings in her car because she had been transient.

Saperstein said that he can show that Mattera did not fire her gun first, and even if she did, the police officers' response was excessive.

"They say she fired one time, which I'm going to show was impossible," he said.

He argued that even though Mattera's brother told police his sister was armed, police "didn't know she had a gun."

Mattera's brother also had told police over the telephone that his sister was bipolar.

Saperstein admitted that his client "should have stopped" for police, but didn't deserve the fate of becoming a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.

After her car's tires blew and the car crashed into the concrete wall, Mattera "was scared out of her mind," Saperstein said.

An investigation by Michigan State Police and then-Macomb County prosecutor Carl Marlinga found no wrongdoing by the officers. Marlinga in 2003 said the officers acted courageously while "staring death in the face."

Mattera had been diagnosed as a paranoid-schizophrenic about three years before the incident at a psychiatric facility in Nashville, Tenn. After that, she lived in Florida with her parents for a time and had been receiving treatment at a psychiatric center. She had been living in Michigan about one year and was receiving outpatient treatment. She had been homeless or living with an aunt in Roseville in that year. She had been on medication for her mental problems in recent years.

Following the incident, Mattera spent 10 months under police guard in William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where an arm was amputated below the elbow, then spent up to 60 days in a state psychiatric center.

In her interview with Watson, Mattera says the incident began when her family "roughhoused" her regarding her seeking money from her parents. She says she then saw police officers at her brother's house.

"There were at least 40 or 50 of them," she says. "I did not know they were there for me. There were so many, why would there be? Then I realized and I got scared and I ran."

She says that after her vehicle crashed on I-696, "I stayed in the vehicle and saw them draw their weapons. I got down in the seat of the car because they drew their weapons. They opened fire and I saw the bullets going in and out of the car. I was hit with quite a few of them. I brought out my pistol and I fired in the air and fired wide, not to hit anybody. I saw that it was doing no good, so I quit doing it. They brought out a shotgun and shot my arm off. That was it. It was over."

In the lawsuit, Mattera accuses police of "oppression and malice" with "reckless indifference and disregard for the plaintiff's physical welfare, safety, life and liberty."

She says police conspired to cover up police misconduct, and the officers intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her and their actions "went beyond the bounds of decency."

She says the city of Warren exhibited "deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of persons in Warren" by failing to provide proper police response and or stop police from using excessive force.

The case was assigned to Judge Diane Druzinski.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:22:31 PM EDT

The incident began as a family dispute regarding her parents that went from her to her brother's residence on Martin Road in Roseville. Her brother, nine years older than her, called police, saying that his sister had pointed a gun at him and had fled in a Chevy Malibu. Mattera refused to stop for police on Gratiot Avenue, speeding away at speeds up to 110 mph first on westbound I-696 then on eastbound I-696, where Madison Heights police used "stop sticks" to puncture the tires of her car and caused it to crash into a freeway wall.

Officers Houtos and Marsee said they fired their guns in response to seeing smoke or a fire flash coming from the end of the barrel of the .38-caliber handgun being held by Mattera in the car. Schnur testified in a 37th District Court hearing that he approached the vehicle to find a bleeding Mattera lying across the front seat with a revolver in her hand.




sounds justifiable IMHO
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:23:47 PM EDT
Run from the po-po, expect bad craziness. She got it in spades.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:25:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2006 5:25:41 PM EDT by HarrySacz]
The only thing wrong here is that she lived. If you are going to shoot somebody,make sure they are dead,dont want them around telling conflicting stories.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:25:52 PM EDT
"She turned her head in my direction and raised the gun directly at me," Schnur testified. He yelled to fellow officers that she had a gun, and he fired "three or four" rounds in her direction as he retreated.

More than 400 rounds of ammunition for her handgun were found in her car. Mattera told the psychologist that she had kept all of her belongings in her car because she had been transient.

Saperstein said that he can show that Mattera did not fire her gun first, and even if she did, the police officers' response was excessive.

"They say she fired one time, which I'm going to show was impossible," he said.

He argued that even though Mattera's brother told police his sister was armed, police "didn't know she had a gun."



Put me on the jury.

This just in...........cops countersue her for being a dumbass.


Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:26:05 PM EDT

Not Guilty by reason of Insanity


and


"She turned her head in my direction and raised the gun directly at me," Schnur testified.


Good shooting. Fuck her.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:28:43 PM EDT
The officers involved should be allowed to shit on her, burn her to death, and use rubber hoses to beat her lawyer to a soupy paste.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:29:18 PM EDT
Oooooooooo. K. Yeah, this lady was a victim, of her own psychotic nature. She is obviously not going to win. I just wonder why this is getting any attention. I'm glad the gun isn't being demonized. There could be a big write up about how someone with her mental problems got posession of a firearm.

This woman's lawyer is a loon as well.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:34:56 PM EDT
She's a scum bag with a scum bag lawyer looking to make some money because they know the insurance company for the police will settle instead of fighting. Cheaper to settle than fight the good fight.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 5:42:18 PM EDT
Hmmmm. Found not guilty due to insanity. Yet, she's sane enough to get a lawyer and sue for excessive force? Total BS. That POS got what she deserved.
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