Family of Man Who Died in Police Stun-Gun Case Settles Lawsuit for $750,000

The price to settle a 2015 police stun-gun case that left a man dead: $750,000.

Calvon “Andre” Reid died Feb. 24, 2015, two days after three Coconut Creek police officers stunned him 10 times within 10 minutes, according to the police Taser data.

Reid’s family, which filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the police and the city, agreed to settle the case in May for $750,000. The previously undisclosed sum was revealed in city records Thursday after it was approved by the courts.

Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal said at the time of settlement that the agency’s insurance company required the case be settled instead of going to trial. The case was scheduled for federal court in late December in Miami.

“I’m actually glad it’s over,” Mayor Becky Tooley said after the sides agreed to settle. “Personally, I think the officers were right. He had drugs in his system. I’m just glad it’s all over and we can get on and do things for our residents. You don’t like something like that hanging over your head.”

Reid’s encounter with police happened in the gated Wynmoor Village. Police have never said if they figured out how Reid got into the community or why he was there.

Reid was under the influence of a combination of the street-drug flakka, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol, prosecutors said.

The Reid family’s attorney Jack Scarola says he suspects that because Reid was having a “severe drug reaction,” he scaled the fence at Wynmoor to seek help. When he climbed the fence, he injured himself, getting bloodied, Scarola said.

“All the evidence suggests that’s what was going on,” he said. “It’s the best way to put the available pieces of the puzzle together.”

When paramedics arrived to the scene, they called police.

Because Reid had blood on him, the officers didn’t know if he had committed a crime, and didn’t want to leave based on his condition and appearance, officers told investigators.

The situation escalated quickly with stun guns being fired and Reid fighting back. Witnesses said they saw Reid being beaten. Police have said there is no video from their cruiser dash cam of the encounter. The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled it a homicide.

Scarola was set to argue in court during his civil trial that the officers violated Taser guidelines, and that the agency’s failure to train officers directly led to Reid’s death.

One of the officers said in his taped deposition he thought he could use a stun gun as many times as it took to control somebody. But guidelines prohibit repeated stun-gun applications.

According to the officer’s Taser data recorded on each device, Reid received 50 seconds of voltage — 30 seconds of that was in less than a minute. Two of the officers used stun guns on him while he was on the ground, and one used the device on him while he was in handcuffs and face down on the ground, Scarola said, citing Taser data, police officer statements and eyewitness testimony.

A grand jury decided not to criminally charge the officers after testing showed the drug flakka in Reid’s system.

The family’s lawsuit was filed in September 2015. Agreeing to the settlement and avoiding trial is beneficial for the Reid family because it avoids a claims bill — the approval needed by the Florida Legislature to collect a jury verdict higher than $200,000, Scarola said.

The settlement money is set aside in annuities for Reid’s two young sons, he said. They’ll have financial security “they would have been deprived of from the death of their father,” Scarola said.

He said this will help bring closure to the family. “There is absolutely no justification for putting an individual — who is seeking the help of law enforcement — putting that individual to death by electrocution in the hands of untrained police officers,” Scarola said. “There is no excuse for what happened to Calvon Reid.”


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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