City to pay $925,000 to man injured during 2006 arrest

052710copcars_mh3The city of Wichita plans to pay out $925,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who suffered internal injuries as the result of a 2006 arrest, City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf said this morning.

Rebenstorf said an officer, who the city declined to name, forced a man over the bumper of a car at a QuikTrip at Harry and Hillside after the man interfered while the officer was interviewing another suspect. The officer used “minimal force,” Rebenstorf said. But the man, who was much smaller than the officer, suffered internal injuries that stem from the officer’s weight and the “unusual” bumper.

The man was in Sedgwick County Jail for 12 hours before he was released, Rebenstorf said. After another 12 hours, the man went to the hospital where he remained in intensive care for six weeks, Rebenstorf said.

Read the original complaint.

The man was never convicted of his initial charge. He later filed a lawsuit against Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita, asking for $7.5 million for medical bills, attorney fees and pain and suffering. The case went to mediation and the parties recently agreed to a $925,000 settlement.

“I think this is appropriate under the circumstances,” Rebenstorf said.

City Council members will vote to approve the settlement Tuesday. Details of the settlement were not included on the council’s initial agenda that was released Thursday because it had not yet completed a report on the matter.

Four officers were involved in the incident, however only one was involved in the arrest on the bumper of the car. All officers have remained on active duty since the 2006 incident, Police Chief Norman Williams said. It is city policy to not start an internal review until the results of a criminal or civil trial are complete. Now that it is complete, the city is in the midst of an investigation to determine whether the officers followed proper procedures, Williams said. The city won’t release the names of the officers because of its ongoing internal investigation, Williams said.

Meanwhile, City Manager Robert Layton announced the formation of a new citizen review board that will investigate major complaints and report to the city manager. The city has had a review board in place for years, but it had not meet in at least two years, Layton said. The prior board also didn’t require that its members come from varying parts of the city. The new board will reflect the community, Layton said.

It’s members include:

  • Timothy L. Sims, pastor of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church
  • Brian Carduff, president and owner of Baysinger Police Supply.
  • David Robbins, former president of Robbins Truck Trailer Sales and a former employee of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services.
  • Michael Ackerman, Jr., president and owner of Michael’s Complete Lawn Care Inc.
  • Jason Watkins, director of government relations for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and former state lawmaker.
  • Jaya Escobar, academic director at Hope Street Youth Development.
  • Sheila Officer, education and training coordinator with Goodwill Industries of Kansas.
  • Kevin Myles, president of the Kansas State Conference of the NAACP and president of the Wichita Branch NAACP.
  • Shala Jean Perez, who teaches administration of justice courses at Butler County Community College and project director of the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Profiling.