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Lawsuit over shooting of police trainee set to resume after appeals

The lawsuit by a University of Maryland police trainee who was shot in the head during a training session — which was revived by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over the summer — should begin moving forward again after the deadline to petition for Supreme Court review passed this week.

The 4th Circuit ruled in Raymond Gray’s case July 27 and the defendants’ 90-day period to petition for a writ of certiorari ran out Wednesday.

Gray was shot in Owings Mills when William Scott Kern used a live weapon in demonstrating the danger of standing in the potential line of fire, according to court documents. Kern said the use of the live weapon was unintentional and he meant to use his training weapon. Gray lost an eye and was permanently brain damaged and disabled as a result of the incident.

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed portions of Gray’s case and granted the defense motion for summary judgment on remaining claims after Baltimore offered $200,000 — the maximum recovery under the Local Government Tort Claims Act — to settle the case.

But the 4th Circuit disagreed with the trial judge’s ruling that there was no evidence Kern had the intent to injure Gray, pointing to evidence of his “dangerous and deceptive behavior” and testimony that “cast doubt on Kern’s account of the events that led to Gray’s grave injury.”

The court did not address Gray’s claim that the statutory cap on damages in unconstitutional as applied to him but reinstated several state law claims, finding the settlement did not render them moot because there was possible evidence of actual malice which would make Kern individually liable.

Gray is represented by Baltimore attorney A. Dwight Pettit.

The case is Raymond Gray et al. v. Officer William Scott Kern et al., 1:13-cv-02270.

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