payton ham
payton ham

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – On April 13, 2021, Maryland State Trooper, Joseph Charles Azzari Jr., shot and killed Peyton Alexander Ham during an altercation with the 16-year-old, after Ham called 911 to report a suspicious man with a gun.

On April 12, 2022, Kristee Ann Boyle filed a lawsuit against Azzari, asking for a total of $10 million in damages and punitive damages.

Now, after nearly two years since the tragic incident, the lawsuit against Azzari has been dismissed. The investigation, which was conducted by then State’s Attorney Richard Fritz, determined Azzari was not at fault. 

U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel officially dismissed the case on January 10, 2023.

Boyle claimed that Ham’s civil rights were violated, citing the fourth and 14th amendments of the Constitution. 

Hazel stated that a dispute about whether Ham made it to his feet or remained on his knees following the initial round of 11 shots, was not material. Chris Longmore, Boyle’s attorney, argued back, stating Ham did not make it back to his feet while holding a knife 15 to 25 feet from Azzari after he was initially shot.

Hazel then wrote that it was reasonable to conclude that Ham posed an imminent threat to Azzari because he was wielding a knife.

Hazel cited Anderson v. Russel (2001) and Sigman v. Town of Chapel Hill (1998), two cases from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

Longmore filed for assault and battery, including intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hazel wrote that a police officer will only be held liable for assault and battery if their actions are not justified, in which he cited Koushall v. State of Maryland (2021), which stated that a police officer cannot be held criminally and civilly liable if their actions are justified.

Hazel also wrote that in order for intentional infliction of emotional distress to be found, the conduct must be extreme and outrageous. Hazel also wrote Azzari’s reasonable conduct cannot be extreme and outrageous.

Azzari fired four more times at Ham in the second round of shots. Ham was struck multiple times, which caused him to collapse.

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  1. So I can shoot someone who is 15-25 feet away from me with a knife if I feel scared. Got it. Good to know.

    1. That’s not a far distance, think of it as in yards 5 to around 8 yards. The person can be on you within a second if moving towards you. Its a shame that the young man had to lose his life but the officer life is just as important.

  2. It seems to me that Kristee Ann Boyle was grabbing at straws. She needs to SERIOUSLY brush up on her Constitutional Amendments because her accusations against the officer are not supported by the 4th & 14th Amendments.

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