Madia Law Represents Victims of Police Brutality and Excessive Force in Minnesota
Most police officers are brave and outstanding public servants who do their jobs with courage and conviction every single day – we owe those officers an enormous debt of gratitude. However, some officers abuse their authority and the trust we place in them by beating someone, macing them, tasing them, shooting them, or even killing them. That’s not right. The law prohibits officers from using excessive force.
Our free society depends on courageous people stepping up to protect their rights when they have been violated. If you were wrongfully arrested, beaten, tased, or maced, you should know that you are protected by federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, which includes excessive force. A federal law called 42 U.S.C. 1983 prohibits the violation of constitutional rights by people acting under color of law, such as police officers.
Police Shooting results in $1.5 million settlement.
Mark Henderson was a hostage held at gunpoint in a room at the Woodbury Red Roof Inn on August 30, 2012. He fled the room and approached Woodbury police officers with his hands raised. He complied with their commands to get on the ground. As he lay unarmed in a prone position approximately 10-12 feet in front of them, the officers shouted conflicting and contradictory commands that even they couldn’t hear or understand. Within seconds, they opened fire and killed him.
Henderson’s family brought a lawsuit against the officers and Woodbury in August 2015. The officers argued that the doctrine of qualified immunity protected their actions. The doctrine of qualified immunity basically says that, in order to be liable for their actions, officers need to knowingly violate an established constitutional right – negligence is not enough. They argued that Henderson didn’t comply with their command to show his hands, and while on the ground, he made a “blading” movement toward them that justified his shooting.
In November 2016, Woodbury brought a motion for summary judgment, asking the district court to dismiss the Henderson family’s case because the officers were protected by qualified immunity. In February 2017, the district court granted Woodbury’s motion and dismissed the case.
We thought the district court erred by not considering crucial evidence, including the officers’ statements from the night of the shooting, where at least one officer admitted that Henderson complied with all officer commands. So we appealed the case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In November 2018, the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s opinion and held that the case should go to a jury trial. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court erred by failing to consider the officers’ statements from the night of the shooting, and that a jury could rely on those statements to conclude that Mark complied with officer commands, but was shot and killed anyway.
In April 2019, just weeks before trial, Woodbury settled with Henderson’s family for almost $1.5 million – the full amount of insurance policy limits.
We were honored to represent the Henderson family.
Police unreasonable search and seizure results in $150,000 settlement.
Michael Jointer went to the MegaMall to return 2 Columbia jackets that he purchased. Bloomington police officers on duty stopped him in the mall and asked him for his identification, because they thought he looked like a known shoplifter who had been trespassed, another African-American male named James Combs. Jointer produced his drivers license, which showed that he wasn’t Combs.
That wasn’t good enough for the officers. They ran warrant checks on Jointer. The checks came back clean. That still wasn’t good enough for them.
So they asked to search Jointer’s shopping bag. Jointer allowed them to do so. The officers found no contraband or shoplifted items. But that still wasn’t good enough – they asked for Jointer’s receipts for the jackets. He provided them and they matched. That still wasn’t good enough.
The officers then made Jointer walk with them back into Columbia so they could verify his purchases with the store manager. Only after the store manager confirmed that everything was in order did the officers release Jointer. The total length of their stop of Jointer was 6 minutes.
When we first brought the case, Bloomington offered $5,000 to settle. After we deposed the officers and showed how contradictory their explanations were, Bloomington settled the case for $150,000.
We were honored to represent Michael.
Police tasing results in $35,000 jury verdict.
Deshun is an African American male who was barbequing in his front yard with his family on a sunny Sunday afternoon in summer 2010. He was playing Isley Brothers music from his car stereo and police officers arrived in a squad car because of the noise. Jason quickly turned the music off and apologized to the officers. He provided his identification and told them that the house and car belonged to him. While speaking to the officers, Deshun noticed that his meat was burning on the grill. He told the officers, “Excuse me officers, my meat is burning,” and walked over to his grill to flip the meat.
One of the officers then yelled, “Where the [expletive] do you think you’re going? I’m not through with you yet.” Deshun responded that he was just checking his meat. The officers then assaulted Deshun – they shoved him against his front fence and sprayed mace in his face. Next, the officers deployed their taser on Deshun, sending him face first into the ground, writhing in pain. The officers arrested Deshun, and slammed their squad car door on his legs several times for good measure. All of this occurred in front of Deshun’s father, mother, and girlfriend, who screamed for mercy. They charged Deshun with disorderly conduct and obstruction of legal process.
A jury acquitted Deshun of all charges. He then found the courage to hold the officers to account for their behavior. Madia represented Deshun through two years of litigation and won a jury trial in federal court, where the jury awarded Deshun $35,000 in punitive damages from the officers.
Police Beating Results in $70,000 settlement.
Ernest was a black, 16-year-old boy who stood 5′ 9″ and weighed 131 pounds. One summer evening, he was walking home with a friend when Minneapolis police officers drove by and shined a spotlight on the boys. The boys, under the mistaken impression that they were out past curfew, immediately began walking faster in order to get home and avoid getting in any trouble.
The police officers then began to box the kids in. Uncertain of what to do, and not wanting to get in trouble for violating curfew, the boys saw an open garage door and entered the garage to hide. Two police officers then followed the boys into the garage. The officers entered the garage and shined his flashlight on the boys, who were crouched on the ground. One officer then kicked Ernest in the head with his boot, causing severe trauma. The other officer said, “Good kick, Rookie!”
Madia sued the police officers on Ernest’s behalf. The case quickly settled for payment of $70,000.
You May Be Entitled to Damages for Pain and Suffering, Emotional Distress, and Attorney Fees
If you have been the victim of police brutality, you may be entitled to damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, punitive damages, and your attorney fees and costs.
Contact Our Excessive Force and Police Brutality Lawyers Today
You must act quickly when it comes to filing a claim for police misconduct. If you wait, strict statutes of limitation will bar you from filing your claim. Call Madia Law today to discuss your case.