HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A judge has dismissed the federal lawsuit filed by Army veteran Crystal Ragland’s family against the city of Huntsville and two Huntsville Police officers.
32-year-old Ragland was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when Huntsville Police were called to her apartment on May 30, 2019. The lawsuit says the apartment manager called 911 and told the operator that Ragland suffered from PTSD, schizophrenia and/or other mental impairments and was waving a gun around threatening neighbors.
Police told News 19 she refused to follow police commands to keep the gun holstered, and the situation was leading up to a moment where she may have fired at the officers.
The officers believed Ragland had a gun. However, later, police discovered the .45-caliber handgun was a replica.
According to court documents, U.S District Judge Abdul K. Kallon dismissed the lawsuit filed by Ragland’s sister Brandie Robinson against the city of Huntsville and Officers Brett Collum and Jonathan Henderson.
“In light of the reports that Ragland had been waving a handgun at others, when she reached for and grasped the handle of her firearm, a reasonable officer, given the circumstances, could have believed that Ragland posed a threat of serious harm,” Judge Kallon wrote.
Robinson’s lawsuit also alleges that Officers Collum and Henderson violated Ragland’s Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force and causing her wrongful death.
According to the ruling, Judge Kallon wrote that even if the lawsuit’s claims against the city are true, he could not consider them because the officers did not violate Ragland’s civil rights.
Judge Kallon also wrote in his ruling, “In reflecting on this painful event and reviewing the legal claims of Ragland’s representative, the court is bound by the case law foreclosing a finding of a constitutional violation.”