Family of man killed by local deputy drops federal lawsuit

(Photo by Kathleen Serie/file)
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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) The family of a Bell County man who was shot to death in a confrontation with a sheriff's deputy in 2016 on Wednesday asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit.

The lawsuit also named the Bell County Sheriff's Department as a defendant.

Lyle P. Blanchard, 59, was shot and killed after a confrontation with Bell County Sheriff's deputy Cpl. Shane Geers on Aug. 30, 2016 following a failed traffic stop and short pursuit in the 12900 block of Farm-to-Market 2410 in Harker Heights.

The incident was recorded on Geers' dash camera.

The dismissal, ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske, was issued without prejudice, which means it could be refiled at a later time.

An investigation by Texas Rangers determined Geers shot Blanchard, a U.S. Navy veteran, four times after Blanchard got out of his vehicle and appeared to reach into the front right pocket of his cargo shorts.

An autopsy found Blanchard had alcohol in his system along with traces of antihistamines.

The most recent dismissal is the third filed in the case since it was introduced.

The initial lawsuit filing was dismissed after the Blanchard family filed a voluntary motion to dismiss when U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, in March, recommended the original filing be tossed out.

"The court finds that reasonable officers could have interpreted Blanchard's actions as drawing an immediately dangerous weapon and, thus, as a sufficient threat," Pitman wrote at the time.

A Bell County grand jury declined to indict Geers in February 2017.

Police investigation confirmed Blanchard was not armed.

In his most recent motion for dismissal, Geers' attorney Joe Rivera, submitted a motion to dismiss on August 18 in which he pointed out several arguments for dismissal and argued Greer's actions should not be considered excessive force.

Robert Ranco, attorney for Blanchard family, said he had not discussed any further action with the family.