by Dale Chappell
The city of Syracuse, New York agreed to settle a lawsuit and pay $2 million to Brad Hulett, a disabled man Tased by city cops after he refused to sit down on a bus.
Video from the May 3, 2013 incident showed Hulett being ordered by two officers to get off a Centro bus. When Hulett asked for a reason, the officers, Sgt. William Galvin Jr. and Officer William Coleman, lifted Hulett’s shirt and Tased him. Hulett can be heard yelling, “Ow! Owww!” in the video. After Hulett fell, the video showed Galvin yelling “You want it again?” at Hulett. The officers then dragged Hulett off the bus.
He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The police report stated that he was told at the scene he was under arrest. However, the video contradicted the report. In the video, neither officer advised Hulett that he was under arrest.
The fall broke Hulett’s hip. When he arrived at the jail in a wheelchair, staff ordered him to stand and walk through a metal detector, even after he told them his leg was injured. Hulett tried twice to stand and walk but fell both times. He spent the night in a jail cell with a broken hip.
When Hulett was 12, he was struck by two trains and had brain surgery to save his life. The brain damage left him with a weak left side and a deformed head. Due to herniated discs in his back, it is difficult for him to sit on the bus. Hulett uses the bus’s poles to stand while riding. On the day of the incident, the bus driver had a problem with Hulett standing and called the police.
Hulett’s lawyer, Rick Guy, said that even if the arrest were legal, the officers used excessive force against Hulett. The settlement allows Hulett “to take care of the needs brought upon him by the brutality of the police officers and the covering up of the bad acts of the officers by the police department,” Guy claimed that the Syracuse Police Department established an environment where excessive force was infrequently punished.
According to Guy, “My client was never particularly interested in a monetary settlement as much as he was interested in making sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
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