A California jury awarded $2 million in damages to a retired police officer shot in the back by a rookie Ventura County sheriff’s deputy as the man tried to disarm his intoxicated son at a wedding reception.
The Los Angeles Times says the verdict came after a day of deliberations in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Anthony Morales, 54, sought compensation for injuries sustained in the May 2000 shooting. The jury had earlier held Deputy Tonya Herbst, 31, liable for battery, negligence, and civil rights violations after deciding she used excessive force when she shot Morales as he wrestled a gun away from his son, Chad.
The jury deadlocked 5 to 2 on whether to award punitive damages. Defense attorney Alan Wisotsky argued that Herbst believed her life and the safety of others were in danger when she saw the younger Morales raising the gun.