CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland has agreed to pay $375,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed a white Cleveland police officer shot and wounded an unarmed black man who was trying to surrender while lying face down in a garage.
Court documents show that a settlement was reached Thursday in the federal lawsuit filed by 29-year-old Kipp Holloway after the May 2014 shooting.
A city spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday about the settlement. The city denied the allegations in a motion after the lawsuit was filed in May 2015.
According to the lawsuit and Holloway’s attorney, Terry Gilbert, Holloway had gotten a ride from two men he knew when he discovered the men were being chased by a security guard after breaking into a business. The driver of the car crashed after a high-speed pursuit on city streets and Holloway ran to a dilapidated garage where he hid behind a motorcycle, the lawsuit said.
Holloway was lying on his stomach on the garage floor when heard a police radio and an officer approaching, prompting Holloway to call out that he was black, not armed and that he had his hands up, the lawsuit said. That’s when Sgt. Timothy Patton fired a shot “without provocation,” the lawsuit said. The shot went through Holloway’s left forearm and ricocheted off the floor into his chest.
Patton then “yanked” Holloway to his knees and placed the barrel of a gun into his mouth while asking where his “boys” were, the lawsuit said.
“Holloway was consumed with fear,” the lawsuit said. “He thought the police were going to kill him.”
The lawsuit said Patton and other officers provided no first aid despite the fact that Holloway was bleeding “profusely,” handcuffed him and forced him to walk to an ambulance.
Holloway underwent surgery at a hospital. He was jailed after being released and remained there until his trial on charges of breaking and entering and possession of criminal tools in September 2014. A judge dismissed both charges in the middle of Holloway’s trial.
Gilbert said Sunday that Patton told authorities he shot at Holloway’s right hand after it was raised in the air because he thought Holloway was holding a gun. Gilbert said the claim doesn’t make sense, because Patton shot him in the left arm.
“Patton’s story was so incredibly unbelievable,” Gilbert said. “Ultimately, the judge saw through it.”
Patton said Sunday that he’s not allowed to comment and referred questions to the city of Cleveland.
Holloway has undergone two more surgeries and has not regained complete use of his left hand, Gilbert said, while dealing with post-traumatic stress.
Cleveland has paid out a number of large settlements in recent years after police shootings of unarmed black people. It paid a total of $3 million to the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after they were killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire in 2012. And the city paid $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was fatally shot by a white officer while playing with a pellet gun in 2014.
Cleveland reached an agreement called a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2015 after a months-long Department of Justice investigation concluded that Cleveland police officers had shown a pattern or practice of using excessive force. That agreement remains in place and has led to reform efforts that include a rewriting of the department’s use of force policies.
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