A LaSalle police officer who was clearpaed by a Weld County grand jury of criminal wrongdoing in the shooting death of an off-duty Adams County sheriff’s deputy has been named in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court.
Officer Caroline Persichetti on Jan. 16, 2019, shot Adams County Deputy Jesse Jenson following a high-speed chase on U.S. 85 in Weld County near Evans.
Persichetti, who was cleared by the grand jury in May 2019 and the town of La Salle, now face a lawsuit brought by the estate of Jenson. Persichetti is being sued for excessive force, according to a Civil Rights Litigation Group news release.
“This is an excessive force action, seeking justice for the unnecessary shooting death of an unarmed off-duty police officer, at the hands of an on-duty LaSalle Police Officer, after the off-duty officer joined in to assist in a multi-jurisdictional car chase,” the lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Denver, said.
On the night of the shooting, Jenson, who was off duty and in his personal vehicle, joined a multi-jurisdictional pursuit of a reported possible drunken driver in a silver Jeep Liberty.
Officers from Fort Lupton, Platteville, LaSalle and Weld County responded. “Police vehicles took turns pursuing the vehicle as it passed from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” according to the news release, dated Monday.
Jenson joined the pursuit in his green Toyota 4-Runner as the Jeep approached Platteville.
Persichetti joined the chase and “mistook Jenson for an aggressor,” the news release said.
“When Persichetti caught up to Jenson, she turned her police lights on behind him. Jenson stopped, got out of his vehicle, and walked toward her in attempt to communicate with her,” the release said. “As Jenson walked toward her, waiving his open and empty hands in the air in front of him, Persichetti shot him in the head without warning.”
“Jenson did not engage in any threatening behavior” toward Persichetti, according to the release.
Jenson’s autopsy report showed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.073. The legal limit for a DUI is 0.08. He also had fluoxetine, an antidepressant more commonly known as Prozac, in his system.
Jenson ran the driver of the Jeep off the road. After hearing testimony about the shooting, the grand jury declined to charge Persichetti with manslaughter.
According to the lawsuit, Persichetti’s behavior was influenced by “emotional and psychological stress from a previous incident” prior to the shooting, in which she was dragged by a vehicle.
The lawsuit also claims that Persichetti did not receive adequate and proper therapy, counseling and rehabilitation from the LaSalle Police Department, including superiors and the chief of police, after the dragging incident and that she was unfit for duty at the time of the shooting.
“Persichetti did not view the circumstances she was confronted with involving Jenson as a reasonably well-trained officer should,” the lawsuit said. “She failed to appropriately apply facts, such as … Jenson was visibly unarmed.
“She claimed that she was certain Jenson was going to kill her, without any evidence that Jenson had the means, opportunity or desire to harm her in any way.”
Longmont Police Officer Sheila Constable is acting as a “representative” of the Jenson estate.
The lawsuit seeks “compensatory damages for the loss of life, lost enjoyment of life, lost companionship, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and other compensable damages associated with wrongful death, in an amount to be determined at trial.” It also asks for punitive damages.
Source: Read Full Article