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|Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:28 pm Post subject: City to pay $100,000 to man Tasered in his home
|N. Braddock to pay $100,000 to man Tasered in his home
The borough of North Braddock and its insurance carrier have agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a suit brought by a man who says police shocked him with a Taser as he slept on his couch.
Officers Gerard Kraly and Lukas Laeuricia were responding to a silent burglar alarm at the Stokes Avenue apartment of Shawn Hicks in the early morning of July 28, 2007, when the incident occurred.
In his suit, filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court and later transferred to federal court, Mr. Hicks said he was asleep on the couch after a night out with friends. At 2:44 a.m., he was "awakened by being tasered by Kraly and Laeuricia."
He said he tried to explain that he lived there and showed his identification, but they shocked him two more times, according to the suit.
The officers' lawyer, Paul Krepps, argued that the officers are entitled to qualified immunity because their conduct was in the exercise of good faith. The officers said they were responding to an alarm, thought they were dealing with a burglary in progress and acted lawfully. Police said they didn't know whether Mr. Hicks, who has a long criminal history, had a weapon and shocked him when he refused repeated commands to show his hands.
The FBI and the Allegheny County district attorney's office both looked into the case and decided against taking action against the police.
Mr. Krepps said the borough and its insurance company decided to settle to save money. Had the case gone to trial, he said, it would have ended up costing the borough even more, regardless of the eventual outcome. Federal civil rights cases are often settled for that reason.
"It was a business decision," he said.
Mr. Hicks' lawyer, Andrew Leger, didn't immediately return a message today.
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