Scottsdale Police Used Excessive Force in '08 Shooting of Man Left as Paraplegic, Judge Rules

Categories: Bad Cops

hulstedt shot.JPG
Image: www.liveleak.com
In this still shot from a video, David Hulstedt can be seen dropping his 2-year-old girl after being shot in the back by Scottsdale police officers. The video, taken by Hulstedt's neighbor, provided key evidence in a lawsuit against police.

Scottsdale police used excessive force in 2008 when they shot a man in the back without a warning, rendering him a paraplegic, a judge has ruled.

David Hulstedt, who was 35 at the time of the shooting, filed a $40 million lawsuit against the city in 2009.

An August 6 ruling in the suit by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow describes how police showed up to Hulstedt's north Scottsdale home because they were concerned about the safety of the man's 2-year-old daughter, but then caused the girl to be injured in a fall when they shot Hulstedt for no good reason.

One officer may have lied in his statements about the incident to make the shooting seem justified, the judge's ruling states.


The incident unfolded on November 7, 2008, after Hulstedt had a mental breakdown during a fight with his parents.

Under treatment for anxiety and paranoid schizophrenia, he had seen his doctor that morning. At 12:20 p.m., he called police saying there was an "emergency" and he needed then-Governor Janet Napolitano to come to the home. A dispatcher, worried about the baby she heard crying in the background, sent out a top alert to police, who ultimately surrounded the home near Dixileta and 68th Street.

Hulstedt's parents fled the home on the advice of police, and his dad, Walt, told cops that his son had threatened to throw the girl out of a window. Hulstedt opened a door to the house several times, talking to a negotiation team. He reportedly told one officer he would "pile-drive" his daughter into the ground unless his brother was sent to the home.

Twenty minutes later, at about 2 p.m., he told cops he was coming out. But when he did, he held his baby girl over his head. Officers yelled to put the kid down.

One officer later told investigators he could have shot Hulstedt with a Taser, but he was worried the shock would cause the man to drop the girl, injuring her.

hulstedt 2.JPG

Sergeant James Dorer, standing 24 feet away, and Sergeant Richard Slavin, 96 feet away, decided to open fire. Of the four shots they fired, three hit Hulstedt from behind. His daughter suffered a skull fracture when she fell six feet to the pavement.

The failure to issue a warning before shooting the unarmed man was bad enough, Snow stated.

But "by shooting David, the officers caused the very harm that a reasonable officer could believe that David posed to (the child)," Snow wrote.

Snow's ruling awarded summary judgment to the paralyzed man on his claims that Scottsdale PD had committed excessive force and battery. Snow dismissed several of the lawsuit's claims against officers and the city of Scottsdale, but allowed several others to stand for a potential upcoming trial.

Alan Simpson, attorney for the Hulstedts, says it's too early to declare victory in the case because the city has appealed Snow's ruling. He declined further comment, except to say that Snow seemed to "appreciate" the rarity of a summary judgment order in a case like this.

Scottsdale police also declined comment, noting that the case was still pending.

Snow's ruling declined to dismiss one of the lawsuit's claims that Officer Daniel Greene, one of the officers at the scene, had "intentionally lied" about the facts of the shooting.

Greene told fellow officers who interviewed him that it "appeared that David had 'smashed her face,' and that 'her left side of her face was deformed.'" Greene stated twice that blood was coming from the left side of her face, and that Hulstedt had dropped the girl from a height of only two-to-three feet, implying that her injuries couldn't have come from the fall.

Greene's incorrect statements were repeated to the public by the department's spokesman.

"The toddler's head injury was not a result from the fall that occurred when police shot at the suspect," Sergeant Mark Clark told an Arizona Republic reporter at the time.

The truth was plainly seen, however, in a video of the incident made by the Hulstedt's neighbor, Michael Pospisil. Hulstedt's holding the girl above his head, then drops her immediately after the first "pop" of a gunshot.

"A reasonable jury could find that Officer Greene fabricated his statement to convince others that (the girl) was not injured in the fall and that David had injured her in the house, in an effort to make the officers appear justified in shooting David," Snow wrote.

If true, Snow noted, the lie wasn't just a corrupt act to protect a cop's buddies. It may have impeded medical care for the girl because paramedics didn't get the correct info about what happened to her. As it was, the girl was released from the hospital a few days later and has apparently recovered from her injuries -- unlike her father, who was paralyzed.

Click here to read Judge Snow's ruling on the David Hulstedt case.

If this case shows that Snow doesn't always side with law enforcement, opponents of Sheriff Joe Arpaio may want to take note: Snow's the same judge now pondering what to do in the Arpaio racial profiling case.



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20 comments
ptcgaz
ptcgaz

wow really the news media are that stupid. The girl drops 6 feet and believes that the cause of her injuries were from inside the house? REALLY fuck you Scottsdale PD!

prisonabolitionist
prisonabolitionist

The Scottsdale cops are still prosecuting David for the "crime" of holding his baby when they shot him - charges they filed to justify the shooting in defense of the civil suit, no doubt. The criminal charges were based on the lies this ruling exposed, though and Bill Montgomery and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office should drop charges now. They were initially filed by Auberchon.

Cozz
Cozz

Imagine that, lying cops....nothing new here.

robert_graham
robert_graham

Another phoney claim by a person just out looking for a quick payout. If there had not been reason for police to come to his house they would not have been there.  When it is necessary for police to shoot to prevent a crime it cannot be guaranteed that police won't kill if their only intention was to disable. Same applies that tasers cannot be guaranteed not to cause death.

marcy
marcy

Juries have the misguided notion that cops are less likely to lie and therefore more believable than the average Joe.  But the reality is that cops are more likely to lie and routinely lie.  

 

But it's only when there is a camera present that we learn the truth about cops lying.  It's why cops hate cameras and regularly threaten people who are filming cops in action.

ogloca77
ogloca77

@JoeArpaioFan

Juries have the misguided notion that cops are less likely to lie and therefore more believable than the average Joe.  But the reality is that cops are more likely to lie and routinely lie.  

 

But it's only when there is a camera present that we learn the truth about cops lying.  It's why cops hate cameras and regularly threaten people who are filming cops in action.

ogloca77
ogloca77

 @JoeArpaioFan why wuld u even hire an overweight old cop thats how most of the scottsdale pd looks lol

Lone-Wolf
Lone-Wolf

I fail to see in Standard Police Training, where cops are legally justified in using deadly force without warning on an unarmed suspect. Unless of course, you are stupid enough to give way for a million dollar lawsuit. In this case, the cops are at fault, because they failed to think twice regarding the safety of the child hanging on the man's head/shoulders. Nice try arpaio ass kisser.

 

BTW, looking forward to the Judge's ruling. @JoeArpaioFan 

drgonzo
drgonzo

 @JoeArpaioFan Brilliant.  Insightful.  Impeccable deduction and analysis.

 

[said no intelligent person reading your comment ever.]

fairymagic13
fairymagic13

 @JoeArpaioFan Scott, knock off the hysteronics - When it is necessary for police to shoot to prevent a crime - you will be the first to know cause it will be you in the line of fire. Your crime: extreme stupidity with prejudice!

 

david_saint01
david_saint01

 @JoeArpaioFan lol ok clueless wonder...why then would they say they didnt want to tase him in fear of dropping his daughter, but shot him anyways? What, you cant add 1+1 moron....

david_saint01
david_saint01

 @marcy especially Scottsdale PD...they rival MCSO as the most corrupt PD in AZ. 

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

 @Lone-Wolf oh well all know what will happen. The man will get money and so should his daughter. Apparently in AZ they haven't taught the police how to deal with mentally ill people. 

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

 @david_saint01 yeah, I have a hard time believing that it's justified if one officer says he didn't want to taze the man because he was holding his daughter but then to shoot him? Did the police try to blame him for dropping his daughter too? what a cowardly police officer.

Cozz
Cozz

 @david_saint01

 Of course not, the moron can't read either. After all, he is a Bozo Joe Arpaio fan and they are not very bright to begin with.

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

 @david_saint01 between them, Phoenix PD and MCSO.. and really all of those are so close it's like they hire the same people after one fires them...

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