- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - The family of a man fatally shot by a Van Buren County sheriff’s deputy two years ago has filed a lawsuit claiming the deputy used excessive force.

In October 2012, Deputy Jon Tharp responded with another officer to 911 reports about an armed man walking on a highway’s shoulder, The Hawk Eye reported (http://bit.ly/1vCOkmT ). The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation found Tharp acted in self-defense when he shot 59-year-old R. Michael Dooley, who was carrying an air rifle.

The lawsuit contends Tharp ordered Dooley to drop his gun but shot him before he could do so. It says Tharp violated Dooley’s civil rights by unreasonably using excessive force that resulted in his death.

“Due to the decedent’s death, which resulted from defendant Tharp’s actions, plaintiffs have been deprived of the services, affection, companionship, and past and future consortium” with his wife and the couple’s five children, the lawsuit said.

Family members are seeking a jury trial, but the lawsuit doesn’t specify what damages they want.

Several weeks after the shooting, Van Buren County Attorney Craig Miller said Tharp’s actions were intended as a “defensive measure to protect himself and others” from Dooley. No charges were filed against him.

“A thorough investigation has determined that Deputy Tharp’s actions were justified and performed within the scope of his employment as a deputy sheriff,” Miller said in a statement then.

Tharp still works as a deputy in Van Buren County. A message seeking comment was left at the sheriff’s office Friday.

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Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com

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