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A federal appeals court says a lawsuit can continue against a Cleveland police officer who shot and killed an unarmed bank robbery suspect in 2010


CLEVELAND — A lawsuit can continue against a Cleveland police officer who shot and killed an unarmed bank robbery suspect in 2010, a federal appeals court decided on Wednesday.

The decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Cincinnati means the lawsuit dismissed last year could go to trial.

The family of Danny Withers Jr. filed the lawsuit against Cleveland, Detective Daniel Zola and two other officers involved in the 2011 shooting, Cleveland.com (http://bit.ly/1ZuYDKZ ) reported.

Court records say the officers were serving an arrest warrant at the home of Withers' grandmother in September 2010 when 21-year-old Withers was shot after raising his hand in a dimly-lit basement closet.

Zola said he made the decision to shoot in "less than a split second."

According to the appeals decision, Zola said during a deposition that he and other officers repeatedly shouted for Withers to show his hands. Judge Gilbert Merritt Jr. wrote that Zola couldn't have identified a body, shouted at Withers and then shot him in a split second.

The Associated Press left a message Thursday at the Cleveland Police Department seeking comment from Zola.

A dissenting judge wrote that Zola's decision to fire his weapon was "objectively reasonable at the time he decided to exercise force."

Larry Zukerman, an attorney representing the Withers' family, said they are looking forward to their day in court.

The city said in a statement that it received the decision and is contemplating its next move.

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