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Home invader shot while escaping burglary sues police

James Rankin
Photo: gunssavelives.net

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A burglar filed a three-count federal lawsuit for being shot by police during a home invasion.

James Rankin, 23, of Carnegie, Pa., is seeking $150,000 in damages for each of the three counts in the 2012 incident, according to The Dallas Post, which reported:

Rankin is facing aggravated assault and other charges in Luzerne County Court related to a home invasion of an apartment at 251 Kidder St. on April 9, 2012. Rankin allegedly used a Taser to stun Naeem Ford and Magarita Martinez during a fight inside the apartment, according to the criminal complaint.

Rankin jumped through a third-floor window and was chased by city police. Police pursued Rankin around the block as an officer fired when Rankin reached toward his waistband, the complaint says.

Rankin said the gunshot left him paralyzed from the waist down, and he wants justice.

He faces a huge stumbling block in getting it, though. After a Pennsylvania State Police investigation of the incident, the district attorney absolved the officer of any wrong-doing in the shooting.

Still, Rankin’s lawsuit claims the police should not have resorted to deadly force since he was unarmed, according to The Dallas Post report.

In addition to being paralyzed, Rankin said the incident resulted in “second-degree burns that required skin graft surgery, bed sores, kidney failure and extreme weight loss among his physical disabilities caused by the gunshot injury,” The Post reported.

Rankin said a “frightening experience” occurred a day before the shooting, when police told him to “immediately leave town” when they found him beneath the porch steps of a residence that was not believed to be his.

The lawsuit names as defendants the Wilkes-Barre police chief, his former assistant and 12 Wilkes-Barre officers, as well as the Plains Township’s police chief and two officers.


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