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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Man shot by cop awarded $23.1m

A federal jury awarded $23.1 million on Wednesday to a 22-year-old black man who was unarmed when he was shot and paralyzed by a sheriff's deputy, but Florida lawmakers will have to approve any award above $200,000.
The six-woman, two-man jury ruled after 3 and half  hours of deliberation that Palm Beach County Sheriff's Sgt. Adams Lin violated Dontrell Stephens' civil rights when he shot him in September 2013.

Lin, who had stopped Stephens for riding his bicycle into traffic, testified that he shot Stephens four times because he reached for his waistband with his left hand and then flashed a dark object that he thought was a small handgun. Stephens testified that he was raising his hands when Lin opened fire for no reason. Video from the dashboard camera in Lin's patrol car showed Stephens' left hand was empty and a cellphone was in his right hand.

An appeal is expected and Lin's attorneys could ask Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer to reduce the damages. The jury apparently rejected Lin's claim that he had made an "objectively reasonable mistake" when he shot Stephens. The jurors declined comment as they left the courthouse as did Lin and his attorneys. Lin sat stoically as the verdict was read, while Stephens wept as he was wheeled into the courtroom minutes later. He declined comment.

Jack Scarola, Stephens' lead attorney, said the verdict is a victory not only for his client but for law enforcement officers who have been unfairly stigmatized by unjustified violence against young black men by a small minority of their colleagues. He said the verdict will help restore faith in the justice system among the African-American community.
"This will help good police officers do their duty and be far more effective in their communities," Scarola said.
Under Florida law, the Legislature has to approve any lawsuit payment against a government agency that exceeds $200,000. In the past, legislators have been reluctant to do that, even in non-controversial cases. For example, it took about three years for the Legislature to approve a $3.5 million settlement for a Jacksonville teenager who was paralyzed when a large branch from a city-owned tree broke off and hit him in the head, paralyzing him. The city, admitting fault, had asked for him to be paid.

In another case, it took more than four years for the Legislature to approve a $10.7 million settlement for a teenager who was permanently disabled when a speeding sheriff's deputy plowed into her car. A jury had awarded her $30 million.

Scarola said legislators "would not be fulfilling their sworn obligation" if they failed to approve Stephens' payment. He said they would be overriding a jury that heard all the evidence and found that a "major injustice" had been done, and condemning Stephens to a life of poverty and suffering.
Stephens' attorneys had said from the beginning that they would seek more than $5 million to cover his medical treatment and future care, but they did not mention the amount they would seek for pain and suffering until closing arguments to the jury Wednesday. Attorney Darryl Lewis told jurors Stephens will have more than $6 million in medical and care expenses during his lifetime, and that he deserved at least $18 million for his pain and suffering. An expert testified that he could spend more than 50 years in his condition.

The case was among several nationwide that have sparked debate about the deaths of unarmed black males following encounters with law enforcement officers. Seltzer had instructed jurors that they could consider only the specific circumstances of Stephens' shooting and no other. Lin, an Asian-American, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by sheriff's investigators and local prosecutors and was later promoted to sergeant.

Lin, 38 and a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's office, testified that he stopped Stephens for riding his bicycle into traffic and because he didn't recognize him from the neighborhood. Stephens, who admitted smoking marijuana earlier that morning and once served 90 days in jail for a felony drug conviction, had been riding to a friend's house after a trip to a convenience store.

In the dashcam video, Lin speeds up his patrol car to catch Stephens as he pedals down a West Palm Beach residential street. Stephens sees Lin and turns into the parking lot of a duplex, hops off his bike and puts it down, his right hand holding his cellphone. Stephens moves behind a car and both men are now outside the camera's view. Stephens testified Lin already had his gun drawn and shot him after he raised his hands. Lin denied that, saying he only drew and fired after Stephens flashed his cellphone like it was a gun.

Scarola told the jury that Lin must have already had his gun pointed at Stephens because he couldn't have seen the cellphone, perceived it as a gun, drawn his own gun and fired in the two seconds Stephens was out of view of the dashcam video.

57 comments:

Nnenne George said...

Very good news for him and his family..

tsalz c.e.o said...

Dats some cool cash..

Y.F.C. Omrex said...

You deserve it bro.

NaijaDeltaBabe said...

Dat reward is so cool


...merited happiness

anita gold said...

Hmm

anita gold said...

Hmm

Ngene Olivia said...

So now he's got money but paralysed? Chai!













#It WiLL oNLy gEt beTTer
#iT MuSt eNd IN pRAisE


fresh presh said...

frshpresh says, that's why I like the white...they don't joke with such cases

2Face said...

Na so e easy nija government go done go broke ooooooo

osondu arinze said...

Nice one. #Still that Imo boy

acid man(llinda's hsuband) said...

Blessing in disguise...

Di Mateo Xavie said...

Justice for the common man...try that in Nigeria and see

Pretty face said...

Hmmmm

Adebayo Charles said...

Crazy cops everywhere

chioma jacinta said...

* it's well*

tosisochukwu said...

Toh! Na him luck





















Threesome? Wow that's awesome














































!brightosman aka fake phyno .#gerarahere

Charles Okafor said...

Hmmm.. Nawa o. If na for naija.. Lol
U knw na











Enugu's second shoe designer

HUSBAND MATERIAL said...

Nice 1 bro but tank ur stars ur stil alive

Nigeria Transgender Call Me Carity said...

Awwwww finally

precious green said...

Hmmm,
What an award..

precious green said...

Hmmm,
What an award..

Joyous babe,Linda ikeji first cousin said...

Good for him.

DashenDuch said...

this kinda thing can't happen in Nigeria sef

DashenDuch said...

before una go find police trouble make them shot una,them no go give una money o

Anonymous said...

Choi the money plenty ohhhhhh, but well deserved. At least he's alive to enjoy the money. Others are usually not that lucky
.....@@@@Bia Bia 💃💃💃💃💃💃💃💃💃

Seentia Sleek said...

Oh boy see money ooo

LINDA'S HOUSEGIRL

Juliet Iwuno said...

Dats more like it. Linda take note!

Eddy Ogbunambala said...

Congrats

KELVIN OBIECHIE said...

America Good shaa...try dat here in 9ja....I don't want to say what d outcome will become.

















~Make I go drink one bottle of beer~

Jamila Shaibu said...

Eyahhh...

samson adele said...

Alright Oooo

Vivian Reginalds said...

Abeg dey shd cm n shoot me
-D great anonymous now as Vivian Reginalds

Solomon Chukwuka said...

So sorry man....that is racism in play....any way enjoy ur money

Ogenah Boris said...

Good news to him. The money will serve as a little compensation for the pains

dee boi said...

See as d guy cum finally hammer... dee

shuga diva said...

wat if say the guy die?
nonsense

shuga diva said...

what if say the guy die
nonsense pple

Achi Izuegbunem said...

Serves them right..

LOTO-CHARLES EUREAY said...

These white fowls sef

Nenyechi said...

Useless sheriffs dats how dey do waste innocent lives bcoss he's black...kudos to d judges

keke driver said...

Justice for one, justice for ALL.

Anonymous said...

Ok






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golda awosika said...

Ewo bi cop she ba ti e je. Wat is wrong with ds cops sef




#*karlishah*

Rapuluchukwuifenineadigomma kingsley Wenceslaus said...

Nice one

Elvis Chima said...

The $$$$$ grab sha but that condition for life is something else, he can never be happy.


#aboki wey soji#

Alma said...

After paralyzing the man, and d officer had to shoot him 4 times, mtchw..

luscious ebi said...

Small compensation compared to what he's lost-the ability to walk again.

Psalmuelle aka Samstone. said...

Dats correct money.

#LIB ADDICT#

Oshios Baba said...

Cool cash

Anonymous said...

Cool cash with paralised legs on a wheel chair for live. That's rubbish. I will rather enjoy my cool cash with my two legs in good condition abeg.

Anonymous said...

Cool cash and you cant have sex with your wife, you can walk around with your legs, you are confined to a wheel chair for live. I will rather not have the cash and have my legs back. Nonsense

Bae Bae said...

Go get shot to be awarded the same Nah..what if he'd died?

Eric Nesty aka LIB'S FINEST said...

Wow. Thank God for him,cos ur levels don change

#FINEST

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