Court: Detroit Public Schools Not Liable in Shooting

DETROIT — The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that victims of a 2008 shooting near Henry Ford High School cannot sue Detroit Public Schools (DPS), the school principal or two security guards. The decision upholds a 2012 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland.

The lawsuit stemmed from an October 2008 incident between Henry Ford students Christopher Walker and William Morton, where the pair began fighting in a school hallway. Two school security officers broke up the fight and sent the students back to their respective classes. After school, Morton returned with two acquaintances and opened fire on a group of students, killing Walker and injuring three others, Detroit Free Press reports.

Although Walker’s family, along with the other victims won an $8 million judgment against the convicted shooters, the plaintiffs sued DPS, the principal and the security officers, citing that the merger between Redford and Henry Ford high schools heightened gang conflicts and gross negligence.

The appeals court ruled, “chronic gang-related violence was present both before and after the merger.” Additionally, the court rejected arguments that any of the defendants were liable for failing to break up the fight more effectively, Detroit Free Press reports.

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