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Monday, February 3, 2014

City agrees to pay victim $150,000 in settlement over alleged APD abuse

City Hall will pay out a six-figure settlement to a man who claimed three Atlanta Police officers repeatedly punched and kicked him during a 2011 traffic stop in northwest Atlanta.

The Atlanta City Council today unanimously voted to pay Clemmin Davis $150,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against Mayor Kasim Reed, APD officer Joshua Lowry, and former APD officers Nicholas Dimauro and Brian Thomas for the use of excessive force and abuse.

Last April, Davis filed a civil lawsuit against the city for the "alleged deprivation of his Fourth Amendment rights." According to the lawsuit, Thomas pulled over Davis outside a Texaco station on 2784 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. One of two passengers in his car fled the scene. Davis, who didn't possess any drugs or weapons, also ran into the woods behind the gas station. In the lawsuit, Davis said he ran because he was worried about possible contraband his passengers may have left in his vehicle.

Dimauro and Lowry pursued the fleeing suspects, the lawsuit said. After Davis fell down in the woods behind the gas station, Lowry repeatedly punched Davis, who did not resist arrest, in the face with a closed fist. Dimauro and Thomas allegedly "brutally" punched and kicked him multiple times in the head and across his body. Davis Attorney Mark Bullman claims that his client lost teeth, received lacerations to his face, sustained damaged to internal organs, endure severe pain, and underwent serious mental trauma. The three APD officers transported him to jail without seeking medical assistance.

"Mr. Davis sustained serious injuries; has and continues to suffer mental and physical pain, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life; has incurred and will continue to incur expenses for reasonable and necessary medical care and treatment; and has sustained other economic and non-economic losses and damages," Bullman wrote in the lawsuit.

After the incident, Davis filed a formal complaint against the three officers for the alleged abuse, which a passerby captured on video. APD's Office of Professional Standards opened an investigation into the matter and found Dimauro and Lowry guilty of "mistreating and using excessive and unauthorized force" as well as failing to report their actions up the chain of leadership. Thomas was fired before formal findings were released. Police Chief George Turner suspended Lowry for five days. He also fired Dimauro because of a past record of misconduct that included more than 10 different incidents where the officer had reportedly used unauthorized excessive force.

In August 2012, Dimauro appealed his termination in front of the city's Civil Service Board. Board members last March overturned Turner's decision and replaced his initial punishment with a 30-day suspension that included back pay. Back in June, WSB-TV reported that Georgia's Peace Officer Standards and Training Council revoked his certification.

"I'm little, you know, look at me. I don't weigh that much, and they did me like that. I just thought I was going to lose my life," Davis told WSB-TV.

CL has reached to an APD spokesperson about Lowry's current status with the police department. If we hear back, we'll post an update.

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