Jury rules in favor of police in Davis wrongful death suit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A jury returned a 9-3 verdict in favor of the Kansas City Police Department on Friday in the wrongful death suit of Terry Davis. Davis' mother, Angela Davis, was asking a jury for more $1 million the death of her son who was shot and killed by Robert Vivano, a 13-year KCPD veteran.

Closing arguments were heard Friday. Vivano took the stand in his own defense, describing what happened that led up to the shooting, saying he acted in self defense.

Vivano said police had attempted to pull Davis over for driving erratically, but said he sped off. Minutes later, Vivano said Davis ditched the car and took off running with a loaded weapon near 26th and Jackson. Vivano said at one point Davis turned and pointed the gun at him, at which point Vivano fired one shot, hitting Davis in the chest.

However, two eyewitnesses testified that Davis was kneeling down without a weapon. They said his hands were in the air, appearing to surrender.

"The law doesn't say, 'If you run from police, you're fair game,'" said Andrew Protzman, plaintiff's attorney. "That's not what the law says."

Police said the eyewitnesses were 70 yards away and instead of surrendering Davis' arms were in the air, throwing his gun and cell phone backward over his shoulders.

Protzman brought in a skeleton with a metal stick representing the projectile path of the bullet, which, he say, proves Davis was kneeling down at the time he was shot.

Police maintain Vivano's decision to shoot Davis was a split-second, life-and-death decision and maintain he acted in self-defense.

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