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Lawsuit Claims Gwinnett Co. Violated Policy

Atlanta Lawyer > Atlanta News  > Lawsuit Claims Gwinnett Co. Violated Policy

Lawsuit Claims Gwinnett Co. Violated Policy

A Gwinnett County family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, alleging police and 911 operators violated policy in how they handed a call, which ended with two women dead.

On July 21, 2009, Barbara Baker called 911 to report her daughter, Penny Schwartz, was “out of control” and “threatening to shoot herself,” according to the lawsuit.

Officer Lyndsey Perry responded, and said Baker let her into the home, where she immediately encountered Schwartz pointing a gun at her.

Perry, who is no longer with Gwinnett County police, said she opened fire in self-defense.

In the end, both Baker and Schwartz were shot and killed.

“[The officer] should have never been in there by herself. A team should have been called to de-escalate this situation,” said Gino Brogdon, who represents Penny Schwartz’s survivors.

Attorney Terry Jackson represents Barbara Baker’s surviving daughter.

“There were failures at multiple points in the system, policies and procedures were not followed and unfortunately, two very preventable deaths occurred in this matter,” Jackson said.

The lawsuit alleges a 911 operator and dispatchers failed to communicate to the officer that a weapon may be involved.

It also states the officer should have known a weapon may have been in the home, based on a police code for the call that appeared on her cruiser’s computer, and that she should have waited for appropriate backup.

Officer Perry was cleared of wrongdoing, after an internal investigation concluded she justifiable acted in self-defense.

But the family of the women disagrees with that finding. They want a jury to decide.

Both Gwinnett County and the county’s police department said they could not make statements regarding the lawsuit, because they do not comment on pending litigation.

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