State Supreme Court Rules Against Collar Family Lawsuits

State Supreme Court Rules Against Collar Family Lawsuits

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The Chief of the South Alabama Police Force cannot be sued over the death of a student shot-to-death by a USA officer. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled today in the case brought by the family of Gil Collar against Chief Zeke Aull.

A naked and drug-addled Collar, a freshman from Wetumpka, was shot to death by a USA Officer outside the campus police office in October, 2012.

The Collar family argued that Chief Aull had not properly trained nor equipped his officers. The Court ruled today that Aull as a state agent has immunity from such negligence lawsuits.

The Collar family’s lawsuit against the University was thrown-out last year on similar grounds.

The family was also seeking an injunction to force the school to provide better training and provide officers with non-lethal weapons like tasers. The Supreme Court ruled today that USA has no obligation to do so.

Last year a News-5 Investigation into campuses around the southeast showed that there is no consistent weapons policy. Many campus police are equipped with tasers and/or pepper spray, but not all.

The Collar’s Montgomery based attorney, Ben Locklar, said he was not surprised by the ruling, saying state law tends to protect government institutions and its employees. He says the family will move forward with its last remaining lawsuit – one against Officer Tevis Austin whose gunshot killed their son.

Austin was involved in another on-campus incident last summer profiled by News-5. Student and disabled vet John Campbell says Austin pulled a gun on him after his car broke down on campus and a check mistakenly reported the vehicle as stolen.

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