City will pay $1.7M to man shot with rub­ber bul­lets

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - By Ja­son Green ja­ ba­yare­anews­ Con­tact Ja­son Green at 408-920- 5006.

SANTACLARA » The city of Santa Clara will pay $1.7 mil­lion to a man who suf­fered “life- al­ter­ing” in­juries af­ter a po­lice of­fi­cer fired two rub­ber bul­lets that hit him in the head.

Handed down last week, the ver­dict fol­lowed a jury trial in which lawyers for Austin Cal­houn ar­gued Santa Clara po­lice Of­fi­cer Mike Horn used un­rea­son­able force dur­ing the July 8, 2012, en­counter.

Cal­houn, who was 16 at the time, re­port­edly left a party in­tox­i­cated, walked to a fire sta­tion near Homestead Road and Kiely Boule­vard, and called 911. He was in the midst of a men­tal health emer­gency and hold­ing a knife to his throat when of­fi­cers ar­rived, but he did not threaten any­one, said at­tor­ney John Bur­ris, whose of­fice rep­re­sented Cal­houn.

A po­lice spokesman at the time said the of­fi­cers had to act when Cal­houn came near them.

Horn opened fire with a gun, known as a SAGE launcher, that shoots rub­ber bul­lets and hit Cal­houn twice in the head. Bur­ris said his client re­quired life- sav­ing brain surgery and will live with a skull de­for­mity for the rest of his life.

The city is stand­ing by Horn’s ac­tions.

Cal­houn, mean­while, is sat­is­fied with the ver­dict and hopes it will pre­vent peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues from be­ing in­jured in a sim­i­lar fash­ion in the fu­ture, Bur­ris said.

“Sadly, it seems that money is the only way to force the po­lice to stop un­nec­es­sar­ily killing and in­jur­ing cit­i­zens who are suf­fer­ing from men­tal health is­sues,” he said. “The con­duct of the of­fi­cers was out­ra­geous, and Mr. Cal­houn was for­tu­nate to sur­vive.”

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