Conn. towns to pay $3.5M in police shooting death

Swat team, police, special weapons and tactics team,

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. Five Connecticut towns have agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit from the family of a man who died in a police raid on a residence in 2008.

Acting on a search warrant, a heavily-armed SWAT team had charged into a small house in Easton, exploding flash grenades with guns drawn -- killing a Norwalk man who was watching TV.

The Connecticut Post reports that the settlement is believed to be the largest in the state for a police shooting.

Yet in a statement, officials from Easton, Monroe, Trumbull, Wilton and Darien all maintain their police were not responsible for the death of Gonzalo Guizan.

Gary Mastronardi, who represents Ronald Terebesi, the homeowner who survived the police assault, said, "This is a clear admission of misconduct on (the towns') part."

Last summer a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit, stating there was sufficient evidence for a jury to decide whether the police had used unreasonable and excessive force against Guizan and Terebesi.

The May 18, 2008, raid on the home at 91 Dogwood Drive was organized by the former Easton Police Chief, John Solomon, who stated in a pretrial deposition that he was under pressure to deal with a resident who had been the subject of neighborhood meetings owing to reported drug abuse and gunfire.

According to the Connecticut Post, the SWAT team wearing body armour and armed with assault rifles tossed flashbang grenades into the house, and smashed through a door, yelling, "Police! Warrant!"

When another flash grenade went off, one officer yelled he had been hit, then there was the sound of gunfire.

Guizan, 33, was found dead with six gunshot wounds. Terebesi was handcuffed and dragged out of the house.

A search of the house found two crack pipes and some cocaine, but no guns.

For more on this story visit The Connecticut Post.