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Civil Lawsuit Dismissed Against Former Hartford Officer in Fatal 2005 Shooting

Hilda Munoz

March 17, 2011

A Superior Court judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit against Robert Lawlor, a former Hartford police detective involved in a controversial police shooting in 2005 in which an 18-year-old was killed.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Lydia Cabrera, Ruben Perez and Dejavahn Watkins, who were injured in a car crash that followed the shooting. Their vehicle was struck by a car driven by Brandon Henry, who had been shot by Lawlor and was fleeing.

Lawlor's attorney, Michael A. Georgetti, said he received the judge's ruling granting his motion for summary judgment on Wednesday and has discussed the favorable outcome with Lawlor.

"He believes he's now been vindicated twice. He's been vindicated by the jury in the criminal case and now by the court in the civil case and he's looking forward to being vindicated by the court in the federal lawsuit that remains pending," he said.

Cabrera's attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

The crash happened at Clark and Westland Streets after Henry and a friend were shot at a convenience store parking lot a few blocks away during a police investigation involving drugs and guns.

Henry's friend, Jashon Bryant, 18, was killed instantly in the shooting. Although shot in the chest, Henry was able to drive away and continued to drive until he collided with the Cabrera vehicle. Perez was in the passenger seat and Cabrera's 4-year-old son was in the back.

Cabrera and Perez initially sued Lawlor and the city of Hartford in federal court, but the lawsuit was dismissed. The case was then brought to state court.

The lawsuit claimed that Lawlor's reckless actions caused Henry to drive the car in a dangerous manner and that his "wanton" behavior put Cabrera, her son and Perez in harm's way.

The judge found that Lawlor could not have predicted that Henry would drive off after being shot and harm the victims. The judge also found that Cabrera and Perez failed to show that Lawlor acted with "malice, wantonness or recklessness."

The claims against the city have also been dismissed.

Lawlor was arrested in 2006 on manslaughter and assault charges after an investigation into the shooting. The case went to trial 2009, and a jury found him not guilty.

Lawlor has since filed a federal lawsuit against then-Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly, charging the prosecutor with malicious prosecution, withholding exculpatory evidence and violating his civil rights.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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