An Arnold man shot by Anne Arundel County police who came to his home to return his wife to a hospital for an evaluation shortly after she walked out of its emergency room lost his brutality lawsuit against the county on Friday.

The jury deliberated about 4 1/2 hours before returning a verdict in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in favor of the county.

Police maintained that they shot Michael Housley on July 12, 2009, in a scuffle after pepper spray and two jolts with a Taser failed to subdue him, and he raised a chair against an officer. The defense countered that Housley was cowering behind the chair in a situation that began with him questioning why police needed to see his wife, Leah. Housley had been convicted of hindering police in the dispute.

"The police were simply trying to perform their duty," said County Attorney Jonathan Hodgson.

But Richard Simmons, one of the couple's attorneys, said the verdict's message is that if a police officer tells a person to do something that he or she doesn't think is reasonable, "You can't question that."

Andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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