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Thurman v. City of Torrington

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June 25 1985

United States District Court for the District of Connecticut

Full case name
Tracy Thurman v. City of Torrington, et al

595 F.Supp. 1521 (C.D.1 1984)

Judge(s) sitting
Senior District Judge Blumenfeld

Thurman v. City of Torrington, DC, 595 F.Supp. 1521 (1985) was a court decision concerning Tracey Thurman, a Connecticut homemaker who sued the city police department in Torrington, Connecticut, claiming a failure of equal protection under the law against her abusive husband Charles "Buck" Thurman, Sr.



After Tracey Thurman was attacked, stabbed, and nearly killed by her husband on June 10, 1983, a subsequent civil lawsuit judged that the local police had ignored growing signs of domestic violence and had casually dismissed restraining orders and other legal bars to keep Charles "Buck" Thurman, Sr. away from his wife. With this lawsuit, filed in 1984, Thurman was the first woman in America to sue a town and its police department for violating her civil rights, claiming the police had ignored the violence because she was married to the perpetrator. She was awarded $2.3 million.


The Thurman lawsuit brought about sweeping national reform of domestic violence laws, including the "Thurman Law" (aka the Family Violence Prevention and Response Act) instituted in Connecticut in 1986, making domestic violence an automatically arrestable offense, even if the victim does not wish to press charges.

Tracy Thurman's story was later made into a 1989 television movie, entitled A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story, starring Nancy McKeon as Tracey, Dale Midkiff as Buck, Bruce Weitz as Tracy's lawyer Burton Weinstein, and Philip Baker Hall as presiding Judge Blumenfeld.


Thurman v. City of Torrington Wikipedia

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