State settles Porter case for $310,000

Posted: Friday, February 10, 2006

A lawsuit filed against the state of Alaska and a state trooper who shot and killed a Casey G. Porter more than two years ago, ended with a $310,000 settlement in a closed hearing on Feb. 2.

The settlement amount was released in a statement sent by the attorney generals office on Thursday. But according to the statement, “the terms of the settlement, including the disbursement of the proceeds, is confidential pursuant to state statute or order of the probate court.”

The lawsuit alleged that the shooting of Porter by Trooper Arthur J. Osborn on Jan. 4, 2003, at approximately 9 p.m. was either negligent or a use of intentional, excessive force. It named Osborn individually as well as the state and sought more than $1 million in damages on behalf of Porter’s estate.

Porter, 30, was sitting in his car in a pullout off the Sterling Highway the night of the shooting. Osborn and another trooper responded to a report that the car was suspicious.

Osborn repeatedly ordered Porter out of his vehicle and when the driver did not comply fired pepper spray into the car, troopers said. Porter’s car moved toward the second trooper’s patrol car and Osborn fired five shots out of fear for Trooper Joseph Whittom’s life, according to troopers. Four of the shots hit Porter.

Osborn told investigators that Porter did not exit his vehicle after being ordered to do so, he then began driving in the direction of Whittom, and Osborn began shooting, thinking his partner’s life was in jeopardy. Porter, 30, was struck four times and died at the scene.

A trooper investigation into the shooting incident subsequently concluded the shooting was justified and state prosecutors decided not to file charges against Osborn.

The estate representative identified in the lawsuit settled last week is Danielle Gordon, the mother of Porter’s young daughter.

A lawsuit, filed on behalf of Porter’s parents, seeking relief in the amount of $100,000, plus punitive damages is still pending.

The complaint filed on behalf of Porter’s parents states that Porter had violated no law and did not display probable cause for Troopers Arthur Osborn and Joseph Whittom to stop him. According to the complaint, troopers “used an excessive amount of force ... assaulted him, shot and killed (him).”

In addition, family members said Porter could not comply to Osborn’s order to exit the vehicle because his right leg was paralyzed and the other susceptible to uncontrollable spasms.

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