Judge dismisses wrongful death case against police

HAMPTON, Va. (AP/WVEC) - A wrongful death trial came to an abrupt end Tuesday, when the judge dismissed the case of a Hampton man who was shot and killed by police in his home.

The Daily Press reports  that police were executing a search warrant at the home of William Cooper on June 28, 2011, looking for evidence that he was selling prescription painkillers.

After officers broke down Cooper's front door, Cooper emerged from a hallway with a revolver and opened fire. Officers then returned fire, killing Cooper.

Lawyers representing Cooper's estate filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against three officers.

Halfway through the trial Tuesday, Circut Judge Thomas Shadrick dismissed the lawsuit, saying there was insufficient evidence that the officers were "grossly negligent" in the shooting.

Cooper's lawyers argued he wasn't given enough time to answer the door and was trying to protect himself from an unknown intruder, while defense lawyers said Cooper's killing was a justified act of self-defense.

Before the trial began, The Daily Press reports the judge blocked Cooper's lawyers from introducing evidence that Cooper was hearing and sight impaired, and that all the drugs seized in the raid were his prescription medication.


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