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Woman claims Danbury cops violated her rights in shooting

January 4, 2019

DANBURY — A local woman, wounded by police who also fatally shot her son, claims police violated her civil rights.

Linda Mae Arbitelle, through her lawyer, Robert Berke, has filed notice with the city that she intends to sue it for compensatory and punitive damages.

Arbitelle is in intensive care at Danbury Hospital as a result of a gunshot wound from police. Berke said he was hired by her daughter.

The notice states that Arbitelle will be seeking damages for assault, battery, violation of her civil rights, excessive force, negligence and “claims of failure to properly supervise officers and failure to properly train officers, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

Berke, who has represented clients in lawsuits against other police departments, declined to give any details about what led up to his client and her son being shot.

“It’s very early in my investigation and premature to make any statements,” he said.

Mayor Mark Boughton and law enforcement officials have said they believe a state investigation of the shooting will conclude that the officer — who has not been named — was justified in firing his weapon.

Boughton called the claim “premature” on Friday, noting that state police are still investigating the incident.

“We don’t even have the state police investigation back yet,” he said. “Let’s get that back first. If there’s litigation surrounding the actions of the officer, we’ll defend our position vigorously.”

State police are investigating the shooting that occurred at about 9:30 p.m. Dec. 29, when Danbury police officers responded to the Glen Apartments senior housing complex at 25 Memorial Drive for a report of a suspicious male.

When officers arrived, they confronted a man, later identified as Paul Arbitelle, wielding a knife walking the exterior of the property.

After a brief confrontation, one of the officers deployed his stun gun on Paul Arbitelle, but it was ineffective. A second Danbury police officer then fired multiple rounds from his duty pistol, striking Paul Arbitelle at least once, according to state police.

State police said Linda Mae Arbitelle also suffered a gunshot wound as a result of the discharge of the officer’s weapon.

Both mother and son were transported to Danbury Hospital where Paul Arbitelle was pronounced dead. State police have said Linda Arbitelle is in critical but stable condition.

State and local police have not released the names of the officers involved and have not yet publicly named Linda Arbitelle.

Paul Arbitelle — who has a number of tattoos, including a dragon and a screaming skull on his face and “white power” on his back — has had several brushes with the law over the years. His most high-profile arrest was in 2011 in a racially motivated assault of a black man on State Street that sent him to prison.

Zach Murdock and Rob Ryser contributed to this report.

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