A jury trial was held last March regarding an officer-involved shooting, and a $50,000 settlement judgment was made against one Gardner officer.
The wrongful death suit had been filed in the United States District Court in 2016 by Michele Choate on behalf of all heirs of Deanne Choate, 53. Choate, was fatally shot by Gardner police officers on March 26, 2015, and shortly thereafter the Johnson County District Attorney’s office issued a press release that they had cleared GPD of any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit named the City of Gardner, and police officers Robert Huff, Justin Mohney and Jeff Breneman, as defendants. The city was represented by David R. Cooper of Fisher, Patterson, Sayler & Smith, LLP.
A $50,000 amended judgment was entered March 9, 2020 against Robert Huff; and the document also says the “plaintiff takes nothing as to defendants City of Gardner, Kansas, Justin Mohney, and Jeff Brennman.”
Police were responding to a 911 call at a home in the 400 block of North Birch Street. The call indicated Deanne was under the influence of alcohol, might be suicidal and had a gun, according to court documents.
The 2016 lawsuit alleged unnecessarily aggressive behavior and impulsive, reckless and excessive use of deadly force and also said the city has a practice of authorizing the use of deadly force in the absence of an actual and immediate threat and a long standing policy of hiding a police officer’s excessive use of force.