HHEG Seeks Review from U.S. Supreme Court in Jimma Reat Case

  • By Holland, Holland Edwards & Grossman, PC
  • 10 Feb, 2017
The firm is pursuing claims on behalf of the Reat family for the death of Jimma Reat.

Jimma Pal Reat was shot and killed by by a group of unknown males early in the morning on April 1, 2012. He died in the arms of his brother and in front of other family members in the car.

This lawsuit brings claims for civil rights violations that have devastated a very loving South Sudanese refugee family, who thought they were finally living in a safe place after having escaped the ravages of war and come to the United States from a refugee camp in Ethiopia.

This happened because of a series of actions by a 911 operator who, during a 15 minute call, instructed these young men to leave the safety of a Wheat Ridge apartment parking lot where they had fled, and return to Denver to meet the police. This was after they had eluded their attackers and reported to 911 an earlier attack by the same men. During the previous unprovoked attack, these same assailants shattered their car’s back window with large beer bottles, injured these young men with a shower of broken glass, repeatedly called them ugly racial slurs, and reportedly brandished a gun.

Despite multiple requests, the 911 operator repeatedly refused to send the police and medical help to Plaintiffs’ safe Wheat Ridge location. Instead, the 911 operator repeatedly instructed these men to leave their known place of safety in Wheat Ridge and return to that very same area inside Denver, as a condition of receiving police and medical help. The 911 operator also instructed these young men to make themselves obvious to the police by pulling their car over and flashing their hazard lights. The operator gave these instructions without simultaneously sending the promised police cover for this dangerous situation until after Jimma Reat was shot and killed.

The District Court found that Plaintiff had stated a due process “state created danger” claim, as the 911 operator recklessly created a dangerous situation for these men that resulted in Jimma Reat’s death. The Court stated that this ruling was well grounded in long established principles announced by the Supreme Court and the 10th Circuit.

The Tenth Circuit, however, reversed the District Court’s ruling. Plaintiff has currently filed a petition for certiorari with U.S. Supreme Court and the Court has directed the 911 Operator to file his response. Because the 10th Circuit upheld Plaintiffs state law claims, those claims have been refiled in State Court and are currently stayed pending determination of the petition by the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Petition for Certiorari .

See coverage and articles about this tragic incident and lawsuit here:

Westword Article - Jimma Reat's family sues Denver over botched 911 call that led to his death
http://www.westword.com/news/jimma-reats-family-sues-denver-over-botched-911-call-that-led-to-his-death-5858426

Denver Post Article - Murdered Sudanese refugee's family sues Denver
http://www.denverpost.com/2012/09/24/murdered-sudanese-refugees-family-sues-denver/

CBS News Article & Video - Family Of Murder Victim Sues City Of Denver, 911 Operator
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/09/24/family-of-murder-victim-sues-city-of-denver-911-operator/

Jimma Reat: Ruling in botched 911 call case opens door to federal civil rights trial.
http://www.westword.com/news/jimma-reat-ruling-in-botched-911-call-case-opens-door-to-federal-civil-rights-trial-5872324

Judge calls Denver 911 operator's actions in man's death "conscience shocking."
http://www.denverpost.com/2013/06/18/sudanese-mans-family-wins-right-to-bring-lawsuit-against-911-operator/

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