The federal appeals court withdrew its decision to excuse a California Highway Patrol officer for shooting a woman 12 times, killing her instantly.
The San Francisco Federal Appeals Court ordered the plaintiffs -- both daughters of the victim -- and the defendant to submit briefs addressing a number of issues, including whether the court should give regard to the jury's decision that the officer used deadly force with the intention to harm her without legitimate reasons related to enforcing the law. And if so, how might this change the officer's immunity in this case?
Readers might recall the story of Karen Eklund, who, in 2006, led police on a high-speed chase through the streets of San Francisco after she was spotted in a stolen car near Antioch. Eklund violently rammed her car into a
police cruiser three times before crashing into a cul-de-sac in the
Mission Terrace neighborhood.
Stephen Markgraf had been standing outside the rammed cruiser, and later claimed he was scared Eklund was going to run over his fellow officers. That's why, Markgraf says, he shot her 12 times, just as she was getting out of the car. She died instantly.
Eklund's daughters -- who were ages 10 and 12 at the time -- sued Markgraf, and won $60,000 in damages, plus another $560,000 for legal fees. But Markgraf appealed the court's decision, and he won. The court reversed the ruling last year, saying Markgraf's case should have never gone to a jury trial because he was clearly in a high-pressure situation where he thought he was in danger.
Now, unconvinced of his innocence, both parties have been given two weeks to submit the
briefs requested by the appeals court. Then, this case could quite
possibly start all over.