Federal judge refuses to allow new trial in Ostling shooting
By BRIAN KELLY
Bainbridge Island Review Editor
September 28, 2012 · 10:25 AM
A federal court judge has rejected the city of Bainbridge Island's request for a new trial in the deadly police shooting of Douglas Ostling in October 2010.
In June, a jury in the civil rights case against Bainbridge Island said the city should pay the Ostling family $1 million in damages after their civil rights were violated when a Bainbridge officer shot and killed Douglas Ostling after the mentally ill man met police at his door with a double-bladed ax as officers investigated a 911 call.
Jurors also found the shooting was justified, but blamed the city for inadequately training officers to handle calls involving the mentally ill.
The city's attorneys said the jury had reached a faulty decision because they were given flawed instructions on how to reach a verdict. Lawyers for Bainbridge also said a new trial was needed because Jon Fehlman — the city's police chief who had been named in the lawsuit — had been hospitalized before the start of the trial and was unable to testify in his own defense.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton said in a ruling Friday that a new trial would not be granted and the $1 million verdict would stand.Contact Bainbridge Island Review Editor Brian Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-206-842-6613.