After more than nine years of court proceedings, municipal officials on Tuesday night agreed to pay $175,000 to settle a man’s police brutality lawsuit.
Juan R. Simmons alleged police officers hit him in the back of his head with a gun and kicked him in the face during a drug raid at a house on Dec. 2, 2010. He named detective Salvatore Macolino and detective sgt. Kevin Collins in his suit, alleging both men attacked him during the raid.
Macolino allegedly hit Simmons on the head with a gun, forcing him to fall to the ground, according to court documents. He then put his knee in Simmon’s back. Collins allegedly kicked Simmons in the face like “kicking a football,” according to court documents.
Medical records cited in the court case stated Simmons suffered head injuries requiring stitches, laceration care, nasal injuries, a fractured nasal bone, bruises, and contusions of the face.
No use of force reports were ever filled out, according to court records.
Municipal officials tried to get the case dismissed citing Simmons had resisted arrest. Collins believed Simmons was trying to swallow heroin or had a weapon after he chased him into an adjoining room, according to court records.
Collins punched Simmons in the back of the head because he was resisting arrest, according to court records. Macolino told the court he never hit Simmons, but helped to handcuff him. Court records show Simmons pleaded guilty to drug offenses. He pleaded guilty and admitted he had heroin in his mouth at the time of arrest.
Judge Kevin McNulty refused to dismiss the case. In an opinion issued two years ago, the judge stated a jury, despite Simmons’ guilty plea to drug charges, could find that police had used excessive force.
Simmons filed his lawsuit in early 2011. Municipal officials spent in excessive of $100,000 fighting the case.
Council members approved the settlement in a 5-4 vote without public discussion late Tuesday night. Before the vote, council members held a closed-door session to discuss the case with municipal lawyers. None of the council members provided public explanations for their votes.
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