IMPD officers ordered to pay $1.2M to estate of man fatally shot in 2018

Keywords IMPD / Law / Lawsuits

Two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers will pay a combined $1.2 million to the estate of a man who was shot and killed in his home after a jury determined unreasonable force was used by the officers.

An April 28 jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ordered officers Ian Peterson and Jonathan Horlock to pay $600,000 each to Dorothy Robinson, who is the sister of Daniel Cedars and special administrator of his estate. Judge Richard Young entered final judgment against the officers on Monday.

IMPD confirmed that both officers are still employed on its force. It did not confirm if the police department will pay the $1.2 million or if each officer will pay in their individual capacities.

The lawsuit stemmed from a November 2018 incident in which Cedars, 65, was fatally shot in his doorway around 1:30 a.m. after officers responded to a hang-up 911 call.

The police-action shooting was recorded four minutes after officers arrived. IMPD has contended Cedars shot at officers first while the complaint claims the officers arrived unannounced and shot “indiscriminately.”

Jurors concluded Horlock and Peterson didn’t reasonably fear for their lives or face imminent risk of bodily injury when they fired their guns at Cedars, court documents show.

In 2020, the district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on a Monell claim against the city and on widow Gloria Cloud’s state-law emotional distress claim. The court denied summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claims against Peterson and Horlock.

Cloud, the city and IMPD were no longer parties in the case during the trial.

“While the incident was unfortunate, IMPD contends the officers’ actions were lawful, compliant with department policies and were not negligent,” IMPD said in a statement. “While IMPD respects the jury process, it is disappointed with this verdict. IMPD and its legal counsel are reviewing possible legal next steps.”

Brandon Tate, partner at Waldron Tate Bowen Spandau LLC, and attorneys Jason Shartzer and Shannon Mize of Shartzer Law Firm LLC, represented Robinson.

Horlock is also currently awaiting trial on excessive force allegations regarding a separate incident. He has been criminally charged with felony battery, perjury, official misconduct and obstruction of justice for his actions during a Black Lives Matter protest in May 2020.

The jury trial is scheduled for July 18.

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3 thoughts on “IMPD officers ordered to pay $1.2M to estate of man fatally shot in 2018

  1. “While the incident was unfortunate, IMPD contends the officers’ actions were lawful, compliant with department policies and were not negligent,” IMPD said in a statement. “While IMPD respects the jury process, it is disappointed with this verdict. IMPD and its legal counsel are reviewing possible legal next steps.”

    “ImPd CoNtEnDs ThAt JuRiEs AnD tHe RuLe Of lAw CaNnOt Be ApPlIeD tO oUr OfFiCeRs”

    IMDP should be a respectable institution and take accountability. Only the police would kill somebody negligently, be found liable by a JURY, and release a statement full of doublespeak that flies in the face of the codified sanctity of juries in the United States. This series of events, from its terribly sad beginning to where we are now, shows why police have the lost respect and trust of large swaths of people throughout the US.

  2. Robert, almost everything you wrote below the quote is not factual. Bottom line is in America everyone is entitled to due process. Yes, even the dreaded Police. I’m sure this will be appealed. Let’s just wait and see how it turns out. Thank you.

    1. That’s exactly the problem. If you’re correct and the case will be appealed, the question many will have is, WHY? If a jury determined the officers where negligent, then what other evidence can be provided that wasn’t already provided to overturn the current ruling is beyond me….

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