Culosi wrongful death trial set for Jan.
Five years after optometrist Salvatore J. Culosi was shot to death outside his home by a Fairfax County police officer, that officer will go on trial in January, to face a wrongful death civil suit filed by Culosi's parents, court records show.
Culosi was 37 and being investigated by Fairfax undercover detectives for sports gambling on Jan. 24, 2006, when a SWAT team was called in to arrest him near his townhouse in the Fair Oaks area. But SWAT Officer Deval V. Bullock drew his .45-caliber handgun and fired at the unarmed Culosi, striking him once in the heart and killing him.
Both Fairfax prosecutors and federal investigators found that Bullock had committed no crime.
Fairfax Police Chief David M. Rohrer removed Bullock from the SWAT team and suspended him without pay for three weeks. Bullock is now a detective.
Culosi's parents filed suit in federal court in Alexandria in March 2007. The case was assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who dismissed the case against Fairfax County and Rohrer, but did not dismiss the case against Bullock.
Appeals of that ruling, first to Brinkema and then to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, by both the Culosis and Bullock, kept the case tied up for more than two years.
In February of this year, the federal appeals court rejected both sides, and sent the case back to Brinkema. A hearing was held in June, and the judge asked both sides to determine when their witnesses would be available to discuss the events of that night. They decided on Jan. 18.
The Culosis are represented by Alexandria lawyers Bernard J. DiMuro and Michael S. Lieberman. Bullock is represented by Fairfax lawyer David J. Fudala. Bullock's legal fees, and any damages that a jury might assess, are paid for by Fairfax County.
-- Tom Jackman
September 7, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories: Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Police Shootings , Tom Jackman , Updates
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