The Cleveland Police Department has agreed to a $600,000 settlement in civil lawsuit brought by a Cleveland Heights man who claimed he was attacked by officers after a traffic incident. In 2011, plaintiff Edward Henderson crashed his van near downtown on New Year’s Day after a police chase. According to the complaint, after he had been handcuffed, Henderson was held down by police while they kicked and kneed him in the head. He suffered a detached retina and broken eye socket.
As part of the settlement, Henderson’s attorney will provide model policies to the city on the use of excessive force. “I’m hoping this is another step towards reform and I’m hoping that we can work with the police department, and the police union, in a collaborative effort to continue to reform the police department for the better,” said lawyer David Malik.
The Plain Dealer reports that the officers involved in the altercation were initially charged with felonious assault and obstruction of official business, but that Former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason later elected to dismiss all charges. A spokeswoman for the city confirmed the settlement, but she said it doesn’t include admission of wrongdoing by officers.
Henderson is currently serving a 3-year prison sentence for assaulting an officer as a result of the chase. In March, the U.S. Department of Justice said it was opening a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the use of force by Cleveland police. The DOJ is analyzing several years of excessive force claims and police policies, training and procedures including last year’s shocking shootout which involved five dozen cruisers and 137 rounds of ammunition fired by 13 officers which resulted in the death of 2 unarmed people.
Source: “Cleveland Heights man who said he was beat by Cleveland cops awarded $600,000 in settlement” by Stan Donaldson, The Plain Dealer, July 11, 2013.