The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling granting immunity to Council Bluffs police in a 2006 shooting. Kristian Harrod was in his car with his girlfriend Nicole Williams and his brother Curtis Harrod waiting to pick up Curtis’ girlfriend at the Council Bluffs WalMart.
A man with a gun forced his way into the car and demanded money. The man, Jaun Cedillo, threatened to harm the three if they did not produce more money. Williams said she could get more money from her dad and they drove to her dad’s home. Once inside the home, Williams called 9-1-1.
The dispatcher sent officers to the home but did not tell them there were three people in the car. Officers arrived and ordered everyone to put their hands up. Curtis Harrod fled the car and Kristian Harrod was able to wrestle the gun away from Cedillo, and shot Cedillo in the head. Officers repeated their command for everyone to put their hands up and drop the gun.
Police then opened fire and shot off some 20 rounds. Kristian Harrod was seriously injured by the shots fired by the officers and subsequently filed suit claiming the officers were negligent in their response. The district court found the officers were making an emergency response when the shooting occurred, and under Iowa law had immunity.
The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, saying as tragic as this situation was, the only conclusion they can reach is that the officers were faced with an emergency and the legislature has granted them immunity for their actions.