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PBSO loses appeal in deadly shooting of autistic teen

Michael Camberdella.  Family photo used with permission.  WPEC.
Michael Camberdella. Family photo used with permission. WPEC.
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A judge rejected an appeal by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and one of its deputies in the shooting of a mentally ill teenager from Boynton Beach, clearing the way for a lawsuit.

The shooting happened Oct. 4, 2012.

Investigators say Linda Camberdella called 911 to ask for help with her 18-year-old son who had been diagnosed with autism and suffered from mental health issues.

Deputy William Goldstein responded to the scene and fired 11 shots, killing Michael Camberdella. The attorney for the family Sean Domnick says Goldstein ignored warnings that Michael was mentally disabled and "failed to defuse" the situation or call for backup.

Goldstein had argued for qualified immunity which prevents citizens from suing the police "if the officers' actions do not violate a clearly established constitutional right." But the Southern District Court denied his motion for summary judgment.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the court's ruling there was sufficient evidence that Goldstein used lethal force "when Michael was neither resisting or fleeing, and no longer posed a risk of harm to Deputy Goldstein or the public," according to a statement from Domnick Cunningham & Whalen, the firm representing the Camberdella family.

“Our world stood still the day we lost our son, and our family has waited a long time to be granted our right to finally move forward and have our day in court. We hope Michael is looking down on us and knows that we will not stop at nothing until justice is served," said Linda Camberdella, Michael's mother.

The ruling means the civil case can proceed against Goldstein and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw once a trial date is set.

The sheriff's office told CBS12 that PBSO will not comment on active litigation. The case will be appealed to the next higher court.

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