Federal jury finds trooper justified in shooting


JASPER — A federal jury found on Monday that an Indiana State Police trooper from the Jasper Post was justified when he fatally shot a suspect in 2015.

The jury found Sgt. Michael Allen did not use excessive force in violation of the U.S. Constitution when he fired his weapon at Jose Damiani Jr. to stop a threat to Officer Bobby Troutman of the West Baden Police Department.

Allen was represented by the Office of the Attorney General, and on Tuesday, Attorney General Curtis Hill commented on the case and the verdict.

“As compassionate people, we always regret the loss of human life in police-action shootings,” Hill said. “At the same time, we appreciate the jury’s correct finding in this case that the trooper was simply doing the job he was entrusted to do.”

The incident occurred on Sept. 4, 2015, after Trooper Allen and Officer Troutman responded to a domestic dispute call in French Lick in which a suspect allegedly had strangled his wife.

The alleged victim directed police to the couple’s backyard, at which time Damiani came out of his shed wielding an approximately 4-foot-long pole, authorities said.

The officers tried unsuccessfully to convince Damiani to drop the pole. Instead, authorities said, the suspect charged at Officer Troutman while wielding the pole in a threatening manner. When Trooper Allen observed Damiani begin to swing the pole at Officer Troutman’s head, he responded by firing fatal shots.

The jury rendered its verdict after hearing evidence from multiple witnesses.

“The men and women of law enforcement deserve our gratitude daily for putting themselves in harm’s way as they protect and serve their communities,” Hill said.

Allen is an Orange County native and seven-year veteran of the Indiana State Police, having graduated from the 72nd Indiana State Police Recruit Academy on Dec. 12, 2012. After graduation, Allen was assigned to the Jasper Post where he patrolled primarily Orange County.

Allen was recently promoted to squad sergeant at the Jasper Post. His training includes hostage crisis negotiator, honor guard rifleman, field training officer, clandestine lab technician and tactical intervention platoon (riot squad) member.

He was district Trooper of the Year in 2014 and 2017 and was the 2017 Indiana State Police Trooper of the Year, which was an honor covering all 14 ISP districts throughout the state.

Allen is also an honorably-discharged veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

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