St. Tammany Sheriff's Office wins excessive force suit

New Orleans, La. - A federal jury has ruled the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office did not use excessive force against Anthony Chaney, who brought the civil rights complaint after he was shot by a deputy in a struggle.

The incident happened in February 2009.  According to the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office,  deputies were attempting to execute a search warrant at a home in the Slidell area.  Chaney was one of several people in the house at the time.  Deputies say he refused to comply with deputies' commands, leading to a brief struggle with one of the deputies.  During the course of the struggle, Chaney reportedly grabbed for the deputy's weapon.  The deputy gained control of the weapon and fired at Chaney, striking him in the chin.

Chaney was subsequently charged with and convicted on one count of attempting to disarm a peace officer, for which he was given a two year sentence.  He was also convicted for one count of residential burglary.  He is currently serving a five year prison sentence for that conviction.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours, on Tuesday.  When they returned, they announced their decision to award Cheney no damages, indicating that deputies were not at fault in the shooting.  Chaney had asked the court for $1,000,000 in damages.

"I am extremely proud of the way our deputies handled this situation.  If the threat presented by Chaney had not been immediately resolved, the lives of every deputy at that scene would have been in jeopardy," Chief Deputy Brian Trainor said.

"The jurors in this case are to be commended for examining the evidence and the testimony and coming to the correct conclusion – that our deputy responded to the threat in accordance with his training, experience, and in the only reasonable manner," said Trainor.