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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CitySt.Paul Police Brutality_PayOut

St. Paul police brutality claim being settled for $270,000
Council expected to approve $270K payment to woman
By Frederick Melo
Updated: 03/08/2011 11:40:18 PM CST
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The city of St. Paul will pay a St. Paul woman $270,000 to settle an alleged case of police brutality under a proposed agreement expected to be approved today by the city council.
The plaintiff, Cosetta Morris, 35, maintained that an officer used excessive force when he attempted to break up her domestic dispute with her roommate and tossed Morris across the room, causing her arm to go through a glass door. She needed surgery to repair tendon damage. The city has admitted no wrongdoing.
The payout is one of St. Paul's larger, though not the largest, settlements of a police misconduct case.
The incident occurred March 15, 2009, and Morris was later convicted of interfering with a 911 call, a misdemeanor.
Her roommate had called police for help, and officer Adam Bailey and his partner arrived at their Minnehaha Avenue apartment at 9 p.m.
What happened after that depends upon which side you ask.
According to Morris' civil suit, officers arrived to find the roommate seated on a couch, with Morris pressed against her, holding her in place and attempting to remove a ring from her finger. "(The roommate) was screaming at this time," reads Morris' complaint.
Bailey told Morris to get off her, and according to the suit, "before (Morris) could comply, (Bailey) forcefully grabbed her from behind and violently and unlawfully flung her to the floor in an uncontrolled manner."
As a result, her left arm went through a glass pane of a French door leading
to an adjoining room. Bailey then turned her over, placed his knee on her back and "held her face down as she continued to bleed," the suit states.
His partner escorted the roommate from the apartment, and Morris was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul to be treated for damaged tendons. She underwent surgery several days later. Morris, a pension processor, had to miss months of work because of her injuries and incurred more than $21,000 in medical expenses, the suit states.
She had sought $1 million in damages and attorney's fees. She accused Bailey's partner of trying to convince the roommate that Morris had fallen through the glass as a result of tripping or struggling with Bailey. She also said Bailey's partner "further attempted to cover up (Bailey's) unlawful behavior by reporting that (Morris) was choking (her roommate)."
In a June 2009 response to the suit, city attorneys maintained that Morris' "alleged injuries and any damages sustained by (Morris) were proximately caused by her own acts or misconduct."
From his vantage point, Bailey maintained he could not tell whether Morris was removing her roommate's ring or doing something worse. As for later holding Morris down, that was a result of the fact she was struggling with him, according to the court filings.
"Officer Bailey alleges that at some point after Plaintiff sustained the injury to her arm, he had to turn Plaintiff over and place his knee in her back to gain control of her," the response states.
John Keating, a police spokesman, said the police department reviewed the facts of the case, and no internal disciplinary action was taken.
In June 2009, Morris was charged with interfering with a 911 call, fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors. She pleaded guilty to interfering with a 911 call in October 2009 and was sentenced to a day in jail and one year of probation in addition to domestic abuse counseling and anger management treatment. The two other charges were dismissed.
A domestic abuse "no contact" order was lifted in December. Morris was represented by the law firm of Flynn, Gaskins and Bennett.
Only once has the city paid out a larger sum to settle a police misconduct case. In December 2005, the city paid $400,000 to the family of Charles Craighead, who was fatally shot by a police officer as he struggled with a carjacker in December 2001.
The previous record settlement was in 2004, when police paid $270,000 to Robert Kearney, who said officers broke his leg while taking him from a sober house to a detox center in May 2002.
Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172.

Saint Paul, MN

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Judge it!
13 min ago

Thanks for publishing as NO PUBLIC HEARING However the Public must know that Judge Ostby signed the "Order" for Payout in Feb. 2011 pdf files at and RES 11-412 Version: 1 Name: Settlement between the City of Saint Paul and Cossetta R. Morris Type: Resolution Status: Mayor's Office In control: City Council Final action: 3/9/2011 Title: Approval of the settlement agreement and release between the City of Saint Paul and Cosetta R. Morris. Sponsors: Dave Thune Attachments: Settlement Agreement and Release.pdf, Judge'sApproval.pdf, Financial Analysis.pdf, Administrative Code 3.02.pdf History (1)Text

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