A federal appeals court on Wednesday reversed a $ 900,000 wrongful death verdict awarded to the mother of Malik Jones, a New Haven man shot to death by an East Haven police officer following a chase in 1997.
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that Emma Jones failed in her effort to show that the fatal shooting of her son, an African American, was the result of “deliberate indifference” by East Haven to abuse by its police officers of the rights of blacks and other people of color.
The appellate decision reverses a finding by a jury at U.S. District Court in Hartford as well as a ruling by Connecticut’s chief federal judge, Alvin W. Thompson, who presided over trial of the suit.

Emma Jones said she will discuss the appeals decision at a yet-to-be-scheduled press conference. Hugh Keefe, East Haven’s lawyer, said the decision probably will bring an end to prolonged and racially divisive litigation.

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The decision is a legal victory for East Haven. But the court’s language is unlikely to give comfort to a municipal government trying to dispel a perception that its town has been hostile to members of racial minorities.
Earlier this year, the town and its police force were battered by allegations of racial bias following a yearslong civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The government accused the police department of bias, illegal searches and the use of excessive force.
Following the investigation, the federal government sued the town and charged four police officers with conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force and obstruction of justice in connection with the mistreatment of Hispanics.
In a footnote to its decision, the appeals court [...]