The City of Midland, Texas, has agreed to settle with the family of Paul Holland in a wrongful death suit brought on Holland’s behalf. The family accepted a settlement of $45,000 in exchange for clearing the officers involved in the fatal shooting.
The complaint filed against the city was a hefty one, going beyond simple accusation that Holland’s death was not justified. Specifically, Holland’s family argued that the city:
– failed to properly train its law enforcement personnel in various alternatives when performing their duties.
– failed to properly train its personnel in dealing with suspects or citizens who are suffering from mental difficulties.
– neglected to equip SWAT officers with less-lethal alternatives to firearms.
The family claimed that the combination of these factors combined to encourage their fourth charge, that of excessive force.
The Holland family’s attorneys maintain that Holland was unarmed and in compliance with officers when he was shot, but the police maintain that Holland was armed and had an extended history of noncompliance with police directives.
Events in the shooting began when a neighbor called police and said that Holland was behaving erratically, including threatening his wife and claiming he was preparing to kill himself. Police set up a barricade around his home. After a standoff of indeterminate length, Holland began to comply with orders and went outside, but then began behaving erratically again. At this point, three SWAT officers opened fire on him, killing him.
The family maintains that Holland was actually carrying a cell phone. SWAT officers claim that they “felt threatened,” and gave a verbal order to “drop the weapon.” However, this makes it unclear and muddled — kevlar-wearing, heavily-armed SWAT officers felt threatened by one individual behaving erratically?
Regardless, the family has elected to settle the case for the aforementioned sum. The agreement also drops all allegations against the officers and clears them of responsibility for the shooting, closing the case.