TKC BREAKING NEWS!!! $750K AWARDED AFTER DEADLY POLICE SHOOTING!!! BIGGEST POLICE EXCESSIVE FORCE SETTLEMENT IN KCK HISTORY!!!
KICK-ASS TKC TIPSTERS sent this newsworthy note our way and it's worth sharing right now . . .
CHECK OUT A HUGE CASH AWARD AFTER A SETTLEMENT OF A POLICE EXCESSIVE FORCE CLAIM IN KCK!!!
A note on the aftermath of the legal ruckus: "The parties mediated the case and settled for $750,000.00 The amount was reportedly the largest settlement by the KCK police department for a single excessive force victim."
Now check the deets:
KC Police Officer Excessive Force Shooting Death Case Settlement
Bautista Allen LLC, personal injury lawyers in Kansas City, today announces a police officer excessive force shooting death case settled for $750,000.
In June 2011, Nicolette Utter filed a civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas against the Kansas City, Kansas police officer, Dallas Thompson, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/City of Kansas City, Kansas (“UG”), former police chief, Samuel Breshears, and present police chief Rick Armstrong, for the death of her husband, Christopher Utter. The lawsuit alleged that Thompson used excessive force in shooting and killing her 33-year old husband during a traffic stop in June 2009. The lawsuit also alleged that the UG, Breshears, and Armstrong failed to properly train, supervise and discipline Thompson and condoned the use of excessive force by its police officers.
On June 27, 2009, Mr. Utter had played in an all-day softball tournament in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He left the celebration with his teammates at Church’s Chicken and was on his way to his apartment in Kansas City, Kansas. At approximately 6:00 pm, a citizen contacted the KCK Police Department to report that Mr. Utter’s Hyundai was stopped at the intersection of 10th and Armstrong, and the driver was passed out. It would be discovered at the autopsy that Mr. Utter’s BAC was 0.26.
KCK Police Officers Thompson and Andrew Seal responded to the call at 10th and Armstrong. The two officers approached Utter’s vehicle to find Mr. Utter slumped over the steering wheel. They knocked on the car windows, and Mr. Utter responded by driving away in the wrong direction down a one-way street.. The officers pursued Mr. Utter in separate police cruisers and boxed-in Mr. Utter’s car at the corner of 11th and Ann. Thompson exited his cruiser and approached Mr. Utter, who remained still in the driver’s seat of his stopped vehicle.
What occurred next was hotly disputed by the parties. Thompson claimed Mr. Utter tried to run him over with his vehicle, and he shot Mr. Utter in self-defense. Plaintiff denied Thompson’s account, emphasizing Thompson was in no danger when he fired the two bullets that killed Mr. Utter. “Both bullets entered through the driver’s window at close range, and there’s no danger of being run over when you’re standing at the driver’s side door,” said Utter attorney Chris Lawler. “The police department’s own medical examiner, Dr. Mitchell, testified during his deposition that the bullets traveled along Mr. Utter’s coroneal plane,” added Utter attorney Daniel Allen. “That means it was physically impossible for Thompson to have been in front of Mr. Utter’s car when he shot Mr. Utter.”
The parties conducted extensive deposition and document discovery in the case. There were over 35,000 documents produced by defendants, and 35 depositions were conducted. Plaintiff produced two experts, a police procedures expert, Denny Waller of Madison, Wisconsin, and local economist, Gary Baker. Defendants produced four experts, police procedures expert, Steven Ijames of Springfield, Missouri, ballistics and human factors expert, Christopher Lawrence of Ontario, Canada, medical examiner, Erik Mitchell, M.D. of Kansas City, Kansas, and toxicologist, Christopher Long, of St. Louis, Missouri. After the close of discovery and pursuant to court order. The parties mediated the case and settled for $750,000.00 The amount was reportedly the largest settlement by the KCK police department for a single excessive force victim.
“The amount of preparation and pretrial activity is not unusual and reflects the difficult burden for the plaintiff in Section 1983 cases. Proving that a government agency or municipality is liable, for example, requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that the agency implemented policies, procedures and practices that were the “moving force” behind the constitutional violation. See Monell v. Department of Soc. Services, 436 US 658 (1978). Often, these “Monell” claims do not survive summary judgment.”
“Nicolette is satisfied with the resolution,” said Utter attorney Jose M. Bautista. “It gives her some closure and allows the healing process to begin. I have to say that we could not have achieved this result without the professionalism of our opposing counsel, Ryan Denk and Theresa Mata. They were excellent attorneys for their clients.”
Written by Jose Bautista on January 29, 2014. Posted in Wrongful Death