Excessive Force: News and Publications

Record 1.6M Settlement for Mentally Ill Victim of Police Shooting in Texas

On Tuesday, September 22, the Dallas City Council approved a civil settlement in the amount of $1.6 million for Bobby Bennett, who in 2013 was shot in the stomach by Dallas police officer Cardan Spencer. The settlement is reportedly the largest the city has ever paid to a single litigant naming the police department as a defendant.

NYC Pays 450K Settlement to Prisoner Assaulted by Rikers Guards

On August 31, 2015, New York City agreed to pay a $450,000 settlement to Robert Hinton, who in 2012 was subjected to a brutal beating by five corrections officers and their captain in a solitary confinement unit for men classified as mentally ill at the Rikers Island jail complex. The aggressors beat Hinton's face so severely that his nose was broken and his eyes swollen shut; after their attempts to cover up the beating did not meet with success, they were fired this past January.

Settlement of $1.6M in Los Angeles Men's Central Jail Suicide Suit

On September 1, Los Angeles County approved a $1.6M settlement to be paid to the family of Austin Losorelli, 23, who committed suicide in the Men's Central Jail in 2013. Despite their awareness of his history of mental illness and attempted suicide, jail mental health workers and other staff repeatedly failed to place him in appropriate mental health housing; he was instead placed in a single-man cell, where he hung himself. His suicide was one of 10 at the jail in 2013 alone.

Win in Case against California Highway Patrol

A case against the California Highway Patrol, brought by a 76 year old man who was pulled over for what officers suspected was a DUI, has won a verdict of $125,000 in damages. He sued the CHP for civil rights violations, assault and battery, negligence, elder abuse and false arrest. Two officers had stopped him because he was driving too slowly and made an unsafe lane change. He had suffered from a stroke a few years prior, and he could not walk in a straight line because of the effects of his stroke. The man had a history of poor balance and so refused to be handcuffed.

NYC Settles Occupy Wall Street Lawsuit for $142K

The City of New York has paid $142,500 in settlement for federal cases brought by three Occupy Wall Street protestors for incidents that took place between them and the NYPD while demonstrations were taking place.

During one of the incidents, which occurred in September 2012, two of the plaintiffs were marching with a banner when an officer approached. One of the plaintiffs (who is receiving the bulk of the awarded funds), Sandra Fields, was slammed from behind, having her head hit the ground. The aftermath of this was captured on video.

$8 Million Awarded in CA Wrongful Death Suit

A civil court jury has awarded $8 million to the family of Darren Burley, who died during a violent fight with police in Compton.

In August 2012, police responded to a call of what was identified as a misdemeanor assault. During the arrest, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies admit to punching, Tasering and piling onto the suspect to get handcuffs on Burley. Attorneys for Burley's family say they also put him in a choke hold, which sheriff's officials deny.

Jury Awards $4.65 million in Denver Wrongful Death Suit

A federal jury on Tuesday awarded record $4.65 million to the family of a Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher who died during a struggle with deputies while being held in a Denver, CO jail.

During the incident in July 2010, four deputies and a sergeant shocked Marvin with a taser, put him in a "sleeper hold" and lay on top of him in an effort to control him during booking. City officials said they have not yet decided whether to appeal the judgment, which includes punitive damages, funeral costs, attorney’s fees, and the loss of enjoyment of life.