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Family of Eric Logan seeking trial in civil rights case

Justin Hicks
IPB News

Back in September, a federal judge dismissed a civil rights case brought by the family of Eric Logan, a Black man shot by a white South Bend police officer in 2019. But earlier this week, attorneys for the family filed an appeal in federal court seeking to overturn that decision.

The appeal argues that U.S. District Court Judge Damon Liechty incorrectly disregarded inconsistencies in the account of police Sergeant Ryan O’Neill.

In June 2019, O’Neill shot Logan in a parking lot near downtown South Bend after responding to a report of someone breaking into cars.

In body camera footage, O’Neill tells other officers responding to the scene that he fired his weapon after Logan threw a knife at him. But in later statements, O’Neill said Logan advanced on him with the knife and dropped it after being shot.

Liechty ruled that O’Neill’s accounts weren’t “inconsistent in any meaningful way,” but the appeal argues that his first account would have made the shooting unjustified.

“Shooting before the knife was thrown is not the same as shooting after the knife was thrown,” the filing reads. “These two explanations cannot be reconciled; the disputed questions of fact may only be resolved at trial.”

The appeal also argues that the Seventh Circuit Court should allow consideration of police officers’ credibility when granting them summary judgment.

O’Neill was charged with two felony counts in 2020 — one for ghost employment, and one for soliciting a prostitute while on duty. The Logan family’s original lawsuit references those charges, but Liechty didn’t take them into consideration during his deliberations.

“This Court should join the Eighth and Ninth Circuits and uphold the plaintiff’s right to challenge the credibility of a police officer on summary judgment,” the filing reads.

The appeal also argues that Liechty should have considered testimony from ballistics and police practices experts called by the Logan family.

Logan’s shooting sparked numerous protests and gained national attention. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the shooting, and ruled that it was justified in Feb. 2020.

Attorneys for the family are seeking a jury trial, but it will likely be several months before the court decides whether to hear the appeal.

Contact Gemma at or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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Gemma DiCarlo came to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.