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Lawsuit looms against officer who shot and killed firefighter

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- It has been almost six months since Kansas City, Mo. Police Officer Donald Hubbard shot KCFD firefighter Anthony Bruno as the officer attempted to arrest Bruno.

A grand jury issued a no-true bill, which means no criminal charges would be filed against Officer Hubbard and the case closed. While no criminal charges were filed and, according to the police department, the shooting was found to be justified, Officer Hubbard may still have to appear in court.

Attorney Kenneth McClain says he represents the Bruno family and will file a civil lawsuit against Officer Hubbard and the Marriott Hotel, where Hubbard was working the night Bruno was killed.

"The basis of the lawsuit is that security guard Hubbard caused or contributed to cause Anthony Bruno's death," said McClain.

When asked why he refers to Hubbard as a "security guard" instead of a "police officer," McClain replied, "he was not acting as a police officer that night. He was moonlighting as a security guard at the Marriott that night."

According to KCPD off-duty policy, police officers may not act as security guards, but may work as off-duty police officers, paid by private organizations to enforce laws.

The policy reads: 'The legal authority vested in a sworn member working off-duty employment in a law enforcement capacity is limited to the enforcement of federal law, state statutes, and municipal ordinances. Members will not use police authority to enforce a private employer's policies and regulations.'

Surveillance video from December 1, 2013 shows Bruno, outside the Marriott Hotel in downtown Kansas City, beating up a cab driver. McClain said the cab driver called Bruno's wife Stephanie profane names, and that is what precipitated the beating. Officer Hubbard, working off-duty at the Marriott responded.

When asked if Bruno had any responsibility for what happened that night, McClain responded, "I think that my client was part of the entire scenario here but you have to look at what happened. Anthony had left the scene to cool his head. He went around the block he was not a threat to anyone. This guy, (referring to Hubbard), like Superman chases him down an alley and tackles him, kicks him and then drop kicks his head into the pavement."

Cell phone video shot by passersby shows Bruno and Hubbard struggling. In the end, Bruno is on top of Hubbard, punching him in the face, and then Hubbard fired the shots that killed Bruno.

McClain says the fact that Officer Hubbard has been cleared of criminal conduct is irrelevant in a civil suit. He says he does not know how much money the family will seek from Officer Hubbard and the Marriott, but he expects to file the lawsuit within the next month.

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25 comments

  • Joe Dirt

    He was getting punched in the head and was hospitalized. He could have been killed.
    Completely justified. Just unfortunate some people can’t handle their liquor.
    Feel bad for the family, but let’s not ruin a guy’s life who was trying to protect himself.

    • Joe Dirt

      The lawyer used the term “security officer” to take credibility away from the officer.
      He was hired as an off duty police officer, with all of the rights and authority of any on duty police officer.

  • Adam

    mcclain-first, this is obviously is a money grab. Do you realize that your client’s husband was the majority fault holder? Do you know your client’s husband was drunk and commiting crimes? He first started off assaulting the cab driver. Then he ran from the scene. Then he attempted to flee/run from POLICE OFFICER Hubbard (not Joe Blow Security Guard). POLICE OFFICER Hubbard (who was in his POLICE uniform) announced himself as POLICE several times. He then resisted arrest from POLICE OFFICER Hubbard. He then assaulted POLICE OFFICER Hubbard, forcing him to defend himself. POLICE OFFICER Hubbard, prior to blacking out from the head trauma caused by you husband, fired his weapon in orer to protect himself and save his own life. Your client’s husbands action’s caused his own death.

    I hope that POLICE OFFICER Hubbard sues your client for his hospital expenses and the pain and suffering that he has endured at the hands of your client’s husband. I doubt you will represent on that case. You shoud be ashamed!!!!

    And I also hope that Independence Chamber of Commerce lets you go and your paintings inside the Jackson County (Truman) Courthouse are removed.

    • Adam

      And your description of the events (1-left the scene to cool his head vs RUNNING from the crime scene, 2-not a threat to anyone vs no one else around and when one shows up *POLICE OFFICER Hubbard* gets assaulted, 3-chasing him down like superman vs called into POLICE action, 4-tackles him and kicks him vs your client’s husband ASSAULTING/RESISTING arrest, 5-Drop-kicks his head into the pavement vs reality of the video evidence/proof, etc). The internal investigation is not irrelevant and what about the No-True Bill? Don’t want to talk about that?

      And not sure of the $$$$$. Probably because Marriott is not liable once POLICE OFFICER Hubbard witnessed a crime and left the property and his capacity as Off-Duty POLICE OFFICER.

      At least you compared POLICE OFFICERS to Super Heroes :-)

  • Adam

    HEY Fox4 – How about a follow-up story getting a real attorney to show the defense of POLICE OFFICER Hubbard. Obviously POLICE OFFICER Hubbard’s attorney won’t be as dumb as mcclain and give away his strategy.

  • Adam

    HEY Fox4 – How about a follow-up story getting a real attorney to show the defense of POLICE OFFICER Hubbard. Obviously POLICE OFFICER Hubbard’s attorney won’t be as dumb as mcclain and give away his strategy.

  • Ben

    Adam: The cop had to know there was a fight and should have quickly realized the people were drunk just from seeing the bride. Because the man was walking away, there had to be a better way of handling it rather than bouncing the husband’s head off the pavement with his knee. That would have really stirred the hornets net and it is no wonder he was getting his *** beat after that. Maybe the cop needed the lesson for future reference but that still doesn’t mean the drunk mouthy bride should get a dime. I hope the counter suit recoups the taxpayer legal fees and if not, let the cop pay them. It should not be the taxpayers.

    • Adam

      Ben: Officer Hubbard (“Super-Cop” as you to have referred to him) saw a crime of violnce and acted accordingly. Officer Hubbard wouldn’t have known about the alcohol consumption until he contacted and was forced to fight him. Police cannot know who will run, let alone fight them (most do not). Usually when they do find out, its too late, as in this case.

      I don’t know about you but I was not Completely DRUNK on my wedding day. My friends were not drunk on theirs. Neither were any of my family on theirs… So again how should Officer Hubbard have known??

  • Larry

    How ridiculous. The attorney is saying that Bruno ran away to cool his head? More like he was leaving the scene of the crime because he was being pursued by a cop after which he then resisted arrest and punched the officer. Bruno is 100% at fault for what happened to him.

  • DrKoon

    SO what you diaper boys are stating is that you won’t defend your wife from another man yelling obscenities, profanity, slurs, disrespectful remarks?

    Cops are out of control. What is this ratso doing working a 2nd job anyway? Because he likes to abuse people.

  • jesse

    EXCUUUUSE me, but HELLO…we’re talking about a man who lost is life here!! This isn’t about MONEY, its about the grief of a now-widow!!!!! And the issue isn’t whether the cop had justification for firing his weapon, its about what he did to INSTIGATE the situation in the first place!! Bottomline: Officer Hubbard ESCALTED the situation, therefore he deserves the DEATH PENALTY as far as I’m concerned!

  • Ummmmmm......

    So next time there is an assault in progress and a Police Officer is in the vacinity but working in a off duty capacity please do nothing, just stand there and maybe just maybe you won’t get blamed for defending your life. What if the Officer (Superhero love that term) was to stand there and do nothing while Bruno was getting punched in the face by the cab driver then god forbid it would be the end of th world that an Officer did not step in. How about next time just wait until the crime in progress makes it over to the property then a piece of junk lawyer who has no life or anything better to do can’t sue you and he can stay at home with his 50 cats and take care of parking ticket violations. Self defense all the way.

      • smarterthanjesse

        Wow….it IS about money as grief doesn’t have a price tag. The drunken person is the one that “escalated” the situation by beating up a cab driver for bad mouthing his wife. How about he work out HIS anger without getting violent. Jesse, I hope you are never being assaulted because in your world the cops should just let the person assaulting you get away with it so that you don’t accuse them of escalating the situation.