Lawsuit filed by family of Eric Logan dismissed, activists and FOP speak out
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A judge ruling Thursday to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Eric Logan against former South Bend Police Sergeant Ryan O’Neill and the city of South Bend.
The judge’s ruling was based on evidence in the case, gathered by police and evidence that’s already lead a special prosecutor to say the shooting was justified.
But a local activist ABC57 spoke with doesn’t agree with the official police narrative or with this judge’s decision.
“I thought it was a very mistaken decision,” … “They deserve some kind of response to what the police did in South bend but in the context of the broader struggle we can’t depend on the courts,” said Paul Mishler, a member of Michiana Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.
Mishler said this was not only a missed opportunity for accountability but a step towards changing things on a larger scale amid nationwide racial unrest.
The Logan family’s lawsuit alleged Sergeant O’Neill used excessive force and that Eric Logan was targeted because he was black.
But Thursday’s judgement said there was no evidence O’Neill was biased against black people.
“Faced with an imminent threat to his safety, [Sgt. O’Neill] acted reasonably under the law based on all the information available to him in that moment. Today’s decision might be different if the facts were different, but this record offers no proof of different facts.”
While the South Bend Police Chief had no comment, the Fraternal order of police said in a statement, "There is no statement FOP 36 can make that changes what transpired that night. It is our hope that we can move forward and heal as a community."
Mishler believes the ruling is another reminder why organization’s like his are fighting for change adding, “We have to push for accountability legally but we also have to push saying we don’t want these things happening here. We don’t want people’s families like Logan’s or Breonna Taylor’s or George Floyd’s to be faced with having to argue a very individual case when it’s really a crisis of social proportion.”
The Logan family’s attorney said he’s disappointed in the ruling and is discussing appeal options with the family.
O’Neill’s attorney told ABC57 he hasn’t gone through the ruling, and can’t comment yet.