Excessive Force: News and Publications

Son of Meriden Police Chief Indicted by Federal Grand Jury

MERIDEN, CT — On Wednesday, November 14, Police Officer Evan Cossette, son of police chief Jeffry Cossette, was indicted by a federal grand jury for using unreasonable force and filing a false report on the incident.

According to the grand jury Cossette shoved Pedro Temich, a man he had just arrested, into a holding cell, causing him to fall and hit his head on a concrete bench. The fall resulted in a traumatic head injury. In his incident report, Cossette then claimed that the victim was uncooperative and had tried to engage in a physical altercation. 

City of Cleveland to Pay $900,000 to Former Prison Guard

The city of Cleveland, OH has agreed to pay former prison guard Martin Robinson $900,000 in a settlement over a June 2009 confrontation with two members of a vice squad. Robinson was guarding the prison fence at the Northeast Pre-Release Center at 1 am when two plainclothes officers approached. The fence had holes in it due to a car crash the previous day, and three guards including Robinson were posted outside to make sure that no prisoners escaped.

$2.2 Million Awarded to the Kramer Family in Excessive Force and Wrongful Death Case

In the case of Kramer v. City of Sandusky, the court awarded the Kramer family $2.2 million in a case of wrongful death and excessive force. Kent Kramer was driving in Sandusky, MI when his car slid off a snowy road. He and others pushed the car back onto the road when a local officer tested him for sobriety, and found that Kramer was intoxicated. A confrontation occurred, and the officer tasered Kramer twice, which enraged him. At this time the officer backed off, and called for assistance.

Zehm Family Receives $1.6 Million Settlement in Excessive Force Case

The family of Otto Zehm of Spokane, WA recently won a $1.6 million settlement in a case of excessive force that led to Zehm's death. Otto Zehm was a 36-year old mentally disabled janitor. He went to a grocery store on March 18, 2006 and passed by an ATM. Two women reported Zehm as "suspicious" and accused him of stealing money from the ATM. Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. arrived and began to strike Zehm with his police baton, as well as shocking him with a Taser. Several other officers arrived at the scene and hog-tied Zehm, as well as placing a non-breather mask on his face.

Lawyers Receive $360,000 in Settlement for False Arrest and Excessive Force

Civil rights lawyer Michael Warren and his wife, Evelyn, also a lawyer, recently received $360,000 in a settlement for false arrest and excessive force by an officer of the NYPD. The couple was stopped at a red light in Brooklyn on June 21, 2007 and noticed police officers tackling a man. The officers handcuffed the man and then kicked the suspect in the head.

City of Boston to Pay $1.4 Million in Suit For Excessive Force

The City of Boston has agreed to pay Michael P. O’Brien $1.4 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit against Officer David C. Williams for excessive force that led to the plaintiff's brain injury. Since the incident O’Brien has been unable to return to work and suffers from debilitating headaches and dizziness. O’Brien, a Middlesex County corrections officer, stated that Williams knocked him to the ground and placed him in a chokehold while he was filming another officer on a cell phone. The incident occurred on March 16, 2009.

Jury awards $3.2 Million in Wrongful Death Suit against LAPD

NPAP member attorney Humberto Guizar recently won a case against the Los Angeles Police Department for excessive force that led to the death of an alleged gang member. The case was won on the following actions: excessive force and failue to intervene, failure to provide medical care, wrongful death-survival damages, negligence, and punitive damages.

$6.2 Million Settlement in Class Action Suit Against the Chicago Police

On March 20, 2003, over 700 people were falsely arrested in Chicago for protesting the Iraq war. In this case, Vodak v. City of Chicago, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion criticizing the police for its treatment of the protestors and reinstated the case after the court dismissed it. The opinion stated that police could not arrest protestors without warning even if they do not have a permit. There were also instances of excessive force. Class members could receive up to $15,000

Man Leafleting in Front of Bank Arrested, Police Use Excessive Force

Josh Schlossberg was arrested after leafleting in front of a bank in Eugene, OR. Schlossberg was thrown to the ground and held in jail for five hours. He was accused of illegally taping Sergeant William Solesbee with his camera. His camera was also searched. NPAP member attorneys Marianne Dugan and Lauren Regan won the case against Solesbee on all counts for false arrest, illegal search of camera, and excessive force. The plaintiff was awarded $4,080 for medical bills and $1,500 for noneconomic damages.

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