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$________ INCLUDING $________ IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES – Civil Rights – Excessive Use of Force – African American plaintiff alleged that he was racially discriminated against by actions of officers.

U.S. District Court, Connecticut

In this civil rights matter, the plaintiff – an African American male – alleged that he was subjected to the excessive use of force and suffered discrimination and embarrassment when he was pulled from a parked vehicle by the defendant officers and harassed, punched, and detained for no reason other than his skin color. The defendants denied the allegations and maintained that they were responding to a call that a white female was screaming for a black male to exit her vehicle. The defendants denied any injury or damage to the plaintiff.

On November 9, ________, the plaintiff was seated in a parked car with a white female driver. The plaintiff alleged that he and the driver were seated in the car outside of his residence, when the defendants in their police cruiser shined the vehicle’s search light into the plaintiff’s car and, according to the plaintiff, began to harass him and his companion. Then, the plaintiff was forcibly removed from the vehicle by the officers, his arm was twisted behind his back, and he was searched. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendants alleging excessive use of force and violation of his civil rights.

The defendants denied the allegations. The officers denied that there was any excessive use of force or that the plaintiff was targeted by them to be harassed based upon his race. The defendants maintained that they were responding to a reported call of a possible problem. While the description of the vehicle did not match, the description of a white woman in a possible conflict with a black man did fit the description and they responded accordingly. The plaintiff was argumentative with the officers, and they responded only with the force necessary under the circumstances.

The matter proceeded to jury trial.At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated and returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury determined that the officers used excessive force, but only awarded the plaintiff nominal damages of $10. The jury also awarded punitive damages of $________ as to each officer. The total award was $________.

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