Power Rogers Attorneys Larry R. Rogers Jr. and Jonathan Thomas secured a major victory for the family of Trevon Johnson, a 17-year-old, unarmed boy who was shot and killed in his home by a DuPage County Sheriff’s Deputy in 2017.
As detailed in the Chicago Law Bulletin, a panel from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on Monday, November 29, 2021 to dismiss an appeal brought by DuPage County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Kuschell after a District Court Judge denied Kuschell’s motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, which shields government officials from civil liability.
In its opinion, the Court held that because numerous facts in the case remain in dispute, it lacked jurisdiction and dismissed the appeal. The ruling means that the lawsuit filed on behalf of Trevon Johnson’s estate can proceed. As Attorney Larry R. Rogers Jr. told the Chicago Law Bulletin:
“We think the 7th Circuit made the correct decision. We look forward to a jury trial in this case.”
The matter stems from a lawsuit filed by Power Rogers against Kuschell and DuPage County which claims that Kuschell used excessive force when he shot and killed Trevon Johnson in his home while responding to a 911 call for a domestic incident between Johnson and his sister. While Kuschell claims to have shot in self-defense after Johnson charged him while holding what appeared to be a knife, witnesses have testified that Johnson was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot by Kuschell. No knife or other weapon was recovered at the scene. Johnson’s body was found with his head toward the top of the stairs and his feet toward Dep. Kuschell.
Following the filing of the lawsuit, Kuschell moved for summary judgment arguing that he was entitled to qualified immunity. That motion was denied by the district court, which found that genuine issues of fact remained, and Kuschell subsequently sought a reversal on appeal – which the 7th Circuit dismissed.
Power Rogers has extensive experience litigating civil rights lawsuits involving police misconduct and officer-involved shootings and will continue to fight for justice on behalf of Trevon Johnson’s family.