The attorneys for a man shot to death by police can question Ogden's chief of police under oath as the case gets under way.
U.S. Judge Tena Campbell ruled Wednesday that lawyers for the estate of Jesse Turnbow, 29, could take a sworn deposition from Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner.
Campbell's ruling overturned an earlier decision by a magistrate judge that would have not allowed the deposition.
Turnbow was fatally shot Dec. 18, 2006, after Ogden police responded to a call about a disturbance and found him wandering in a residential area with a shotgun.
Turnbow raised the sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun and pointed it at one of three officers who responded and started shooting, according to witnesses. Three police officers fired at Turnbow, hitting him 20 times.
The Weber County Attorney's Office investigated the situation and did not file criminal charges. However, the family of Turnbow claims his civil rights were violated because they allege Ogden police used excessive force.
Michael Studebaker, attorney for Turnbow's estate, told the judge Wednesday it was important to hear from the police chief since he is the top policymaker for the department. Studebaker also said one of the officers had a history of excessive force and acknowledged beating another man, which was captured on videotape.
Studebaker said the police chief should be questioned about whether he knew about this officer's background and whether there has been any investigation into complaints that arose before Turnbow's death.
Studebaker said he also wants to ask the police chief about this particular officer: "Why is he still on the force?"
Heather White, a lawyer for the city and the three officers named in the federal lawsuit, said the police chief has no first-hand knowledge of the Turnbow incident. White also said Greiner delegates personnel matters to others in the department.
As far as details regarding this case "he has nothing," White said.
She also said the officer in question did not acknowledge acting with excessive force and said the video in question has been edited, has poor visibility and was not permitted to be used in an unrelated criminal case.
The judge, however, agreed with Studebaker and permitted Greiner to be questioned under oath."He is the chief decisionmaker," Campbell said. "If he has nothing, the plaintiff has the right to ascertain that from the chief himself."
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