Man Awarded Millions in Police Shooting Sees Fortunes Fade

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By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nearly a year after a Prince George's County man who was shot and wounded by a police officer was awarded more than $2.4 million in a civil suit, a second jury yesterday determined that the man was entitled to no award because the officer did nothing wrong.

The case brought by Darron M. Shaw, 33, was retried after a judge agreed with the county's attorneys that irrelevant evidence had been allowed in the first trial.

The shooting occurred about 4 a.m. New Year's Day 2006 as Shaw, his girlfriend and two friends left a club in District Heights.

Shaw's girlfriend, LaToya Dunn, and the friends got into a car while Shaw walked. The car stopped, and Dunn and Shaw argued, according to court filings and testimony.

County police Officer David Coleman arrived and ordered Shaw to put his hands up, according to court papers. Moments later, Coleman fired five times, hitting Shaw once in the right bicep and once in the right side of his chest.

Shaw testified that he was unarmed. Associate County Attorney Peggie McWhorter, who defended the county and the police officer, argued during this week's trial that physical evidence proved that Shaw was carrying a gun and that the officer was justified in firing.

"The jury determined the actions of Officer Coleman were justified," said James Keary, a county spokesman.

Shaw's attorney, Walter L. Blair, did not return a phone call yesterday.

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