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$500,000 Jury Award in New Orleans’ Woman’s Shooting Death by Police

A New Orleans federal jury awarded $500,000 to a New Orleans woman who was shot and killed by police, but it found her 50% at fault.

While driving without her headlights on during the evening of January 24, 2013, Barbara Lassere, 60, failed to pull over when St. John’s the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Dailey tried to pull her over for the minor traffic infraction.  Lassere, however, did not stop.

Instead, she led police on a slow chase and drove around a spike strip.  The chase ended in Lassere’s driveway, but she refused to exit her vehicle.  Deputy Jose Rel decided to extricate her by using a police dog.

He broke out the driver’s rear window of Lassere’s car to accomplish this, but that move startled Deputy Michelle Pierson, who shouted, “gun.”  Dailey fired into the vehicle, fatally wounding Lassere.

Her estate sued, alleging police used excessive force.  The jury agreed.  It found 20% of the fault was attributed to Dailey and 10% of the fault was attributed to the other three deputies present.  The remaining 50% fault was laid on Lassere.  As such, the jury’s $500,000 award on February 10, 2015, was reduced to $250,000.  The estate was represented by attorney Fred Schroeder.  See:  Lassere v. St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff, USDC, d. Louisiana, Case No 2:13-5430.

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Related legal case

Lassere v. St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff