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Judge refuses to toss out elderly man’s lawsuit against Lubbock police

Published: May. 8, 2012 at 1:31 AM CDT|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 1:55 AM CST
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Willie Williams
Willie Williams

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock police asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by then 90-year-old Willie Williams who claims excessive force related to a shooting incident last year. But a federal judge in Lubbock said 'no' on Monday.

Williams, now 91, claims police fired on him in his own apartment as they were responding to a burglary that was reported next door to him. Williams claims he heard someone breaking into his apartment so he grabbed a shotgun for self defense.

Police mistook Williams' apartment for the one next door. Officer Curtis Fish claims in court records that Williams fired first and he returned fire. Williams claims it was the other way around.

Either way a grand jury cleared Williams of criminal charges.

The judge refused to let Fish have protection under a legal concept called "qualified immunity." The concept is meant to protect officials from being sued unless they're incompetent or knowingly in violation of the law.

The judge ruled that there are too many disputed facts to allow the officer to have qualified immunity. The judge was very clear to say in his ruling that he was not deciding who was right or wrong, only that the case has factual disputes and therefore the lawsuit stays on track to be presented to a jury.

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