Judge throws out lawsuit in 2011 police-involved death

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HOUSTON, Tx. - A Christmas Day tragedy three years ago cost Houstonian Blake Pate his life. And now, a federal judge has thrown out the lawsuit his family filed against the Houston Police Department and Sgt. Curtis Hampton claiming they had violated the young man`s civil rights.

Pate, 24,  was involved in a wreck after Christmas dinner in 2011. He survived the accident, got out of the car and began to stumble away. That's when Sgt. Hampton, responding to the incident, ordered him to stop. At some point -- while Sgt. Hampton says he was trying to detain Pate, he said he felt threatened, though pate was unarmed. Even so, Sgt. Hampton shot him. Dead.

A Harris County grand jury refused to indict Sgt. Hampton.

The family`s attorney was not surprised by the decision to throw out the family's case. In a statement he said:

“Unfortunately, this result was expected...the only discovery allowed was a modest number of depositions, which confirmed that Sgt. Hampton should not have been a Houston Police Officer. "

The family can still appeal the decision, but fears the case would end up back in front of the same judge.

HPD and the City Attorney didn't have anything to say about the outcome.

Another case that draws into question whether the scales are tipped when a badge is involved.