Judge dismisses wrongful death suit against Phoenix - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Judge dismisses wrongful death suit against Phoenix

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Former Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman Former Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

CBS5 News has learned a judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Phoenix.

The city was named in a civil suit filed by Elvira Fernandez, the mother of Daniel Rodriguez.

He was shot to death by former Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman, who was responding to a domestic call at Fernandez's home on Oct. 5, 2010.

Chrisman is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

He's accused of pepper-spraying, tasing and then shooting Rodriguez, who was unarmed.

Chrisman also fatally shot Rodriguez's dog.        

The lawsuit claimed the city had unconstitutional policies and customs and failed to properly train and supervise its officers.

There were also claims of negligence and gross negligence.

But, in his June 20 ruling , U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone wrote the plaintiff failed to provide evidence to support the claims against the city.

The attorney for Rodriguez's mother argued the city knowingly employed an officer who'd been punished for planting drug paraphernalia on a mentally ill woman during a training exercise and whose name is on the Brady List – which names police officers who've acted in ways that question their integrity and honesty.

In his decision, Martone acknowledged the city knew of Chrisman's prior infractions, but ruled that is "not enough to show that the city knew Chrisman had the propensity to attack… and kill an unarmed citizen in his home without provocation."

And, under Arizona state law, you can't sue a city for punitive damages.

CBS5 spoke with Rodriguez's mother Thursday night.

All she would say is that she's disgusted by the judge's decision to dismiss the claims against the city.

Her attorney, Sabinus Megwa, declined to comment on how or if he plans to move forward with the case.

A status conference in Chrisman's criminal trial is set for Sept. 5.

He faces charges of second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation).  Allrights reserved.

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