Towns to pay $3.5M in deadly cop raid: "There is undisputed evidence [the raid victims] were huddled in a corner when police shot" (CT Post)
Wednesday February 20th, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- Five years ago, a heavily armed special weapons and tactics team charged into a small ranch home in Easton -- guns drawn and flash grenades exploding -- and killed a Norwalk man who was quietly watching porn on TV in the den.
Now five towns will pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the victim's family.
In a joint statement, officials from Easton, Monroe, Trumbull, Wilton and Darien all maintained their police were not responsible for the death of Gonzalo Guizan that day, said the lawyer for the home's owner.
The settlement, believed to be the largest in the state for a police shooting, says otherwise.
"This is a clear admission of misconduct on their (the towns') part," said Gary Mastronardi, who represents the homeowner, Ronald Terebesi, who reportedly barely escaped with his life during the raid.
"There is undisputed evidence Guizan and Terebesi were huddled in a corner when police shot," Mastronardi said. "This is just the first of two shoes that have dropped."
Terebesi's lawsuit against the town for emotional suffering and damage to his house in the raid is pending.
The town had been under pressure to settle the case ever since a federal judge last summer refused to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling there was sufficient evidence for a jury to determine the police team used unreasonable and excessive force against Guizan and Terebesi. While the towns filed an appeal of that decision, they also began negotiating a settlement in the case.