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Five Connecticut Towns Settle Police Shooting Case for $3.5 Million

Posted by Paul Levin | Feb 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

Five Connecticut towns will pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a man shot and killed by police during a raid on a home. Guizan v. Solomon, et al, 3:09-cv-01436 (D. Conn., Sep. 14, 2009). Heavily armed police officers entered a house to search for drugs, and while inside shot and killed an unarmed man. The house's owner survived the assault and also filed suit, Terebesi v. Easton, et al, No. 3:09-cv-01457 (D. Conn., Sep. 15, 2009), claiming that police used unreasonable and excessive force and requesting damages for emotional distress and damage to his home.

A group of twenty-one police officers assaulted a home in Easton, Connecticut on May 18, 2008. They were members of the Southwest Regional Emergency Response Team (SWERT), a SWAT force comprised of officers from Easton and four surrounding towns: Monroe, Trumbull, Wilton, and Darien. Police had received information that Ronald Terebesi, the house's owner, and Gonzalo Guizan had drugs inside the house. They allegedly had no specific information that the two had any weapons inside. Easton's then-Police Chief John Solomon planned and authorized the raid. The warrant listed two crack pipes and a supply of drugs sufficient only for personal use.

Police records indicated no prior criminal record for Terebesi, nor any history of threats or violent behavior. Nevertheless, the SWERT team used flash grenades before entering the house, then went in with their guns drawn. Monroe Officer Michael Sweeney shot Guizan six times, killing him. Terebesi was not injured during the raid. The officers found no guns, and only a small quantity of drugs. During the subsequent investigation of the raid, some of the SWERT members testified that they had information that Terebesi was armed, although other records may contradict this. Reports from the investigation allegedly showed that Guizan and Terebesi were huddled in a corner at the time Guizan was shot.

About the Author

Paul Levin

Attorney Levin was admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut beginning 1989 and in New York Federal district court beginning 1992. He is a member of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, Connecticut Bar Association, and the National Association for American Justice. Prior to establishing his own law firm, Attorney Levin was associated with the…

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