AP NEWS

Montana man injured in officer-involved shooting files suit

January 23, 2020 GMT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man wounded in an officer-involved shooting has filed a lawsuit against the Yellowstone County sheriff’s department.

Travis Tolan of Lockwood is alleging negligence, assault and battery and a broader claim that the sheriff’s office has a pattern of using excessive force, in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Billings. It names the county, the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Mike Linder and two deputies as defendants.

Linder said he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment, The Billings Gazette reports.

Tolan was shot once in the abdomen in January 2018 by officers who went to his residence after someone reported concerns that Tolan’s online posts seemed to indicate he was suicidal. Dispatchers told deputies there might be a gun at the residence.

Tolan’s lawsuit states officers did not announce themselves when they knocked on his door, so he grabbed a handgun before answering.

“Not expecting any visitors, not knowing who was at his door in the dark pre-dawn hours, and fearful of who might be at his door, Travis armed himself with his Smith & Wesson .45 handgun and opened the door,” the lawsuit states.

Officers reported seeing a gun and shot Tolan, the lawsuit states. Tolan did not fire his gun, the sheriff’s office determined.

Both deputies were cleared of wrongdoing by a review panel made up of two members of the sheriff’s office, one police captain, a probation and parole officer and a civilian firearms instructor, the newspaper reports.