City not liable in police shooting

A jury has determined the city of Medford was not negligent in the 2012 shooting death of an 18-year-old man who brandished a butcher knife at officers.

"The city is pleased with the verdict," Medford City Attorney Lori Cooper said Tuesday. She declined further comment on the case, which was decided by a 12-person jury trial that ran from Dec. 14-18.

Alejandra Ruiz, mother of Elias Angel Ruiz, had sought $2 million from the city in Jackson County Civil Court claiming wrongful death. Medford police shot and killed Ruiz while responding to a domestic disturbance call the afternoon of Jan. 22, 2012, on the front porch of the Ruiz home in the 800 block of Pennsylvania Street, Medford.

Police said that Ruiz, who brandished a knife on his front porch and wore a bulletproof vest, couldn't be subdued with a stun gun, so they had to resort to deadly force. Five shots were fired, plus a stun gun shot.

In February 2012, a Jackson County grand jury said police were justified in using deadly force after Ruiz charged from his home waving the knife at two responding officers.

Alejandra Ruiz and Ruiz's brother Hakim Ruiz separately called police after a violent altercation erupted while the family was cooking dinner that afternoon.

The family was represented by Kafoury & McDougal, a firm that has worked on previous excessive force and police brutality cases.

"Instead of stepping back and seeking to calm the situation, the police forced an unnecessary confrontation. The result was as predictable as it was tragic," lead attorney for the plaintiff Gregory Kafoury said after the Ruiz case was filed in 2013.

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