In the “you knew this was happening” category, Michael A. and Leah Housley have filed suit against Anne Arundel County and the police department. Housley was the man who was shot in the face last year when he refused to allow police to check on the welfare of his wife.
In a nutshell, Housley took his wife home fro the hospital without being discharged. The hospital called the police. The police went to their home to check on her well being. Housley refused to allow police to enter his home. Police broke into the home. Police tasered and pepper sprayed Housley. Housley was still kicking and picked up a chair to defend himself/attack the officers (disputed) and Anne Arundel County police officer Doyle Holquist Jr. shot him in the face. Case went to trial and all charges were dismissed against Housley except one for hindering police in their work. He was fined $500 by Judge Philip T. Caroom in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
You can read the backstory and the details of the new suit at The Baltimore Sun.
When we first reported this, we were critical of the County police for their use of excessive force against a relatively unarmed man. This is what we had to say back then:
What is happening? Are the police a little trigger happy? Are citizens a little too much on the edge? This is the fourth police involved shooting for Anne Arundel County since April. First the guy in Severn, then the guy in Hanover, then the kid in Laurel, and now a man in Arnold. Two of these have been fatal shootings. While the job of a police officer is stressful and life and death decisions need to be made in an instant (in some cases), four shootings in 3 months seems to be high.
And we stick by that. At the trial, it was disclosed that the officers on the scene were told by one supervisor to NOT break down the door and they called another one who authorized it. It also came out that the wife was willing to come out to be “checked upon” but she wanted to put away their 90 pound dog to prevent any dog related issues. However, the police determined the best alternative was to break in.
The lawsuit does not specify any damages, but does claim that Officer Holquist is “not fit to carry out his duties as a police officer” based on his prior involvement with what some deem as overzealous shooting. Holquist has been involved in other officer involved shootings in his short career with the Anne Arundel County Police–he was hired in 2005.
The suit is likely the least of the County’s worries as the attorney hired by Housley has indicated that he will seek to have the US Department of Justice initiate a civil rights violation investigation against the Anne Arundel County Police Department.