Case Conclusion Date: January 6, 2012
Practice Area: Civil Rights
Outcome: $73,750 Settlement
Description: Settlement on behalf of a client whose constitutional rights were violated when he was wrongfully assaulted, searched, arrested, and detained by police officers from a local city and county. The incident occurred in 2009 when the client, D.W., was arrested on the front porch of his house for obstruction of justice after allegedly failing to identify himself to police officers who were searching for another suspect. The plain-clothes officer who initially approached D.W. and demanded his personal information did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to detain D.W. for questioning. Additionally, although the basis for the arrest was that D.W. allegedly failed to identify himself, it was undisputed that he did provide his name to the plain-clothes officer. In the course of the arrest, another officer repeatedly tasered D.W., even though he was not resisting the arrest. That officer then choked D.W. while he was handcuffed until he almost blacked out. The officers then searched D.W.'s home without a warrant or any level of suspicion. The prosecutor eventually dropped the charges against D.W. because he determined that, under Georgia law, D.W. was not required to provide any identifying information to the officer who approached and questioned him. A lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Middle District of Georgia against the individual officers, their supervisors, and the city and county based on the violations of D.W.'s constitutional rights. After several months of litigation, the defendants agreed to settle the claims against them for a total of $73,750.