Trial date set in wrongful death lawsuit

Published 10:58 am Thursday, June 17, 2010

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against the City of Ironton and its police department by the family of Aaron Roe will go to trial Oct. 18.

Roe drowned in the Ohio River in 2007 after jumping in to avoid police. The lawsuit, filed May 30, 2008, by Roe’s parents, Lois Porter and James Roe, names the City of Ironton, police department, and the officers Brian Pauley, Stephen Wilson and Mitchell Crum. All three officers are still employed by the police department.

The family seeks $2 million for the loss of Roe and for emotional distress.

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The case had originally been scheduled to go to jury trial May 17, but the trial was postponed because both sides had not completed the discoveries in time for the date.

Ken Harris, a Columbus-based attorney who represents the city, police department and officers, said the decision to postpone the trial was mutual.

The lawsuit alleges that on June 2, 2007, Roe and his brother Allen Roe were at the Fuzzy Duck Bar when Roe bumped into a ceiling fan. Another bar patron then attempted to start a fight with Roe and officers were called to the scene. Roe fled officers Pauley, Wilson and Crum, who had pointed their Tasers at him, according to the lawsuit.

Roe got into the Ohio River to avoid police. The lawsuit also alleges that while Roe was in the water, one of the officers fired his Taser at him, striking him.

The suit alleges further that police officers refused to help Roe or let his brother help him.

Roe’s body was found in the water the next day.

A call to attorney William Gustavson of Cincinnati, who represents Roe’s estate, was not returned.