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Lawsuit settlement in fatal shooting, detention on City Council agenda

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, at 1:17 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, at 8:12 p.m.

A $45,000 lawsuit settlement with a Wichita woman who was detained by police after officers fatally shot her husband returns before the Wichita City Council on Tuesday.

The council will consider for a second time the settlement with Lakeda Dixon, her minor children and the estate of her late husband, Jerome Dixon, over the Nov. 7, 2010, shooting.

The proposed settlement covers the alleged unlawful detention of Lakeda Dixon and her children after the shooting and does not include Jerome Dixon’s death, according to city documents.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, Lakeda Dixon alleged officers responding to a noise complaint in November 2010 used excessive force when they fatally shot her husband, Jerome Dixon, in their doorway in front of his two young children.

The lawsuit alleged that Jerome Dixon didn’t know officers were present, posed no threat to the officers and was holding a handgun pointed downward as he was trying to take it out of the home to keep it away from his children.

The district attorney’s office found that Dixon’s shooting was justified and that Dixon pointed the gun directly at an officer after being ordered to drop the weapon.

In late November, city officials had said they had an agreement with Dixon’s family to settle the case for $45,000 – primarily for unlawfully detaining the family. But City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf said during the Nov. 26 council meeting that the lawyers continued to negotiate over language in the settlement agreement.

City agenda documents published online on Nov. 21 appeared to tie the proposed settlement to the shooting as well as to the detention. Internal City Council documents provided to The Eagle five days later said that the parties agree “the actions of the individual officers in regard to Mr. Dixon were objectively reasonable under the circumstance.”

Wichita lawyer James Thompson, representing Lakeda Dixon, confirmed the latest settlement agreement but said his client did not agree that the shooting of her husband was “objectively reasonable.”

Instead, the latest agreement indicates that Lakeda Dixon acknowledges she cannot meet her “burden of proof” to show that the shooting was improper, according to city documents and her lawyer.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bwilsoneagle.

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