Excessive Force

Cop didn't use excessive force, jury finds

On June 11, a jury sided with an Austin police officer who was blamed for the shooting death of man fleeing in a car. Byron Carter was in the front passenger seat of a parked car when Officer Nathan Wagner and another officer approached. Carter shouted, "Go!" and his friend hit the gas. Wagner had been on bicycle patrol looking for car burglars. He said Carter and his friend had been acting suspiciously. He fired five rounds at the moving vehicle. The defense contended that the driver accelerated directly at the officers; that the right front fender clipped Wagner's partner in the leg, causing him to fall; and that Wagner had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by the vehicle.

Carter v. Wagner, No. A-11-cv-887-LY

Court: U.S. District Court, Western District, Austin

Plaintiff Attorney: Adam Loewy, Loewy Law Firm, Austin

Defense Attorneys: Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez, Law Office Of Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez, Austin; Linda Icenhauer-Ramirez, Law Office Of Linda Icenhauer-Ramirez, Austin

Motor Vehicle

Plaintiff loses suit in crash with armored truck

On May 10, a driver who claimed neck injuries was mostly to blame for a collision with an armored truck, a jury found. Nada Bjelajac hit a Garda C1 Southwest armored truck in Houston. She claimed the truck driver made an unsafe lane change. Defense counsel argued that the truck driver was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection at the time of the collision, and that Bjelajac failed to control her speed and keep a proper lookout and collided with the rear of the truck. The jury found Bjelajac 70 percent liable and the defendants 30 percent liable.

Bjelajac v. Garda C1 Southwest Inc., No. 201207028

Court: 281st Harris County District Court

Plaintiff Attorney: Jonathan S. Harris, Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, LLP, Houston

Defense Attorney: Jeffrey L. Diamond, J. Diamond & Associates, PLLC, Houston