There are some situations where a police department or city will pay the victim of a police beating through a settlement agreement rather than risk going to trial. This is usually done in cases where the police clearly did something wrong and a jury could possibly come back with a large verdict at conclusion of the trial. One incident Colorado Springs where a man was badly injured by the police resulted in a settlement agreement.
Traffic stop in Colorado Springs results in severe head trauma to victim
A man named Delvikio Faulkner came into contact with the police in the south part of Colorado Springs during a traffic stop. The two officers present alleged that Faulkner gave a false name and began to make sudden movements while he was in the passenger seat of the vehicle. As the vehicle began to pull away, one of the officers tried to apprehend Faulkner, but continued to beat him in the head and upper body with a heavy duty flashlight even after the victim had stopped resisting or attempting to flee. Faulkner was hospitalized and given eight staples to close a large gash in his head from the flashlight wounds, and now suffers from severe headaches even long after the beating.
The resulting internal affairs investigation from the Colorado Springs Police determined that the officer’s violent use of the flashlight served no legitimate law enforcement purpose. A lawyer from the ACLU represented the victim and filed several federal lawsuits on his behalf against the officer. The internal affairs report was supposed to remain confidential, but it was released as a part of the discovery process by an order from the judge handling the case. After a four hour conference, the city decided through a cost-benefit analysis that a settlement agreement would be the best option. The victim was ultimately paid $39,000 for his injuries through that agreement.
What was the city’s cost benefit analysis?
In cases where the police have clearly done something wrong, there is little to be gained by going to trial. If the jury is sympathetic to the victim, verdicts for severe injuries can sometimes be in the thousands or millions of dollars. This is especially true in cases where police are captured on video beating a defenseless person. Little can usually be done by a defense attorney to explain why police officers would need to continuously beat someone who is handcuffed, on the ground, or already detained in some ways. Even as the internal affairs report in this incident concluded, many uses of force by police serve no legitimate law enforcement purpose and only cause injuries to the victim.
There are also costs associated with attorney’s fees, expert witnesses, and other preparations for a trial that can be avoided with a settlement agreement. Payouts to victims of police beatings will come in the form of tax dollars in most situations, so it reflects poorly on a city when their hiring process produced an employee who essentially wasted large amounts of tax revenue. This is why many cities will conduct a “cost benefit analysis” or use similar methods to minimize the losses of public funds that are created by police beatings. Once the damage has been done by police misconduct, they often need to find the best way to move on without losing significant amounts of taxpayer money.
In this particular case, there was also very strong evidence of the officer’s improper use of force. The other officer on the scene recorded the acts of violence in the report for the traffic stop, and the department’s own internal affairs investigation concluded that there was no legitimate reason to severely beat the victim with a heavy flashlight. The treatments in the hospital after the incident along with the consistent headaches the man now suffers from were considered to be worth thousands of dollars by the lawyers involved.
Get help from a police brutality lawyer now
If you have been injured by the police in Colorado Springs, it may be possible to file a lawsuit and collect a settlement for damages. A lawyer who specializes in police brutality cases can speak with you and provide expert legal advice.