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Jury Awards Missouri Man $35,000 for Traffic Stop Assault

by Christopher Zoukis

  A federal jury found that Dunklin County, Missouri, deputies used excessive force against a man who ran a stop sign, and awarded him $35,000.

     On June 11, 2006, Herman Taylor was pulled over by Dunklin County Sheriff Deputies Derek Lawrence and James Bullock after he ran a stop sign. While he exited his vehicle, he asked the officers if he could secure the belongings in the car. At this point, Taylor said Bullock became enraged.

     Bullock forced Taylor to the ground at gunpoint, and then began to beat him, repeatedly kicking him in the back and spraying him with Mace. Lawrence stood by and watched. Taylor was taken to jail and released the next day. He drove himself to the hospital where he was treated for broken ribs and internal bruising.

     Taylor sued Bullock in Missouri federal court for excessive use of force. He also charged Lawrence with failure to intervene. The officers said Taylor struggled during the arrest, so the force was reasonable. Taylor argued that the attack on him was unprovoked.

     The jury decided in favor of Taylor, issuing an award of $35,000. Taylor has since sought an award for attorney fees.

 See: Taylor v. Dunklin County Sheriff, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Case No. 1:07-CV-133 (Sept. 29, 2009)

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Related legal case

Taylor v. Dunklin County Sheriff, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

 

 

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