Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Excessive-Force Complaint

Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Excessive-Force Complaint

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling denying a Salem couple's claims were violated by officers during a standoff in which the husband was wounded.

Following a domestic dispute more than four years ago, Blaine Phillips, 39, locked himself in his bedroom after law enforcement agencies responded to a 911 hang-up call from his wife.

According to court documents, negotiations were unsuccessful and Phillips continued to threaten to shoot officers who had surrounded his house.

Following one threat, a member of the Utah County SWAT team shot Phillips in the right shoulder.

The couple challenged the decisions to deploy the SWAT and to shoot Blaine Phillips.

Blaine Phillips contended that the use of deadly force was not justified and was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

The appeals court ruled Friday that the officer acted reasonably and that the couple could not establish a violation of their constitutional rights.

The situation "was clearly a tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situation that we do not like to second-guess using the 20/20 hindsight found in the comfort of a judge's chambers," the court said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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