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Appeals Court Revives Suit Against Md. Officer

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has reinstated a Maryland man’s lawsuit against a police officer who mistakenly shot him with a handgun instead of a Taser.

The 9-3 ruling Thursday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond reversed a three-judge panel’s ruling dismissing Frederick Henry’s lawsuit against Robert Purnell.

In 2003, Purnell was trying to arrest Henry outside his home in Eden on a charge of failing to pay child support when Henry fled. Purnell shot Henry in the elbow with his Glock service revolver. The Glock and the Taser were both strapped to Purnell’s right leg.

The appeals court’s majority said Purnell should have known he was holding the Glock because it was heavier than the Taser and operated differently. The minority said it was an honest mistake.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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