Judge rules in favor of FWPD officer, city in 2011 fatal shooting

Photo from the scene of an officer involved shooting at Broadway Joe's Tavern the night of November 26, 2011.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A federal judge ruled in favor of a Fort Wayne police officer accused of using excessive force when shooting and killing an armed man at a bar in 2011.

Antron Pearson was killed in the early morning of Nov. 26, 2011. Police responded to reports of shots fired outside Broadway Joe’s Tavern, which was at 2514 Broadway.

Officer Joshua Francisy saw Pearson outside the bar as Pearson walked quickly around a corner, according to court documents filed with the United States District Court in Fort Wayne. Francisy yelled several times for Pearson to show his hands and drop his gun.

Nearly two years after Pearson died, his family filed a lawsuit against Francisy and the City of Fort Wayne. On Monday, Judge Robert L. Miller issued his summary judgment, a motion that was filed by the defendants in May to get a judge’s ruling rather than going to trial. Summary judgments are typically filed when there is a lack of evidence.

The Estate claimed Francisy used excessive force and was also improperly trained by the Fort Wayne Police Department. The city was accused of negligence. The lawsuit also accused both Francisy and the city of wrongful death, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to court documents, the estate claimed physical evidence contradicted affidavits, including where and how many times Pearson was shot. The claim that Francisy shot Pearson two times in the head was proved wrong by an examination by the Allen County Coroner’s Office. There was only one wound to his head. Judge Miller dismissed excessive force accusations due to a lack of evidence.

Judge Miller determined the claims that Francisy was not properly trained were invalid because the estate failed to show any policy or custom that would have called for further training or supervision of Fort Wayne Police Department officers.

Claims that FWPD was negligent were found invalid because of “Pearson’s voluntary conduct” by ignoring Fracisy’s orders to show his hands and drop his weapon.

It was also determined that because there was no proof Francisy used excessive force that there was no way to also prove his reckless actions resulted in Pearson’s death and moreover, assault, battery and intentional distress.

Francisy continues to work for the Fort Wayne Police Department. He was hired onto the force in October 2007.

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