The Huntsville City Council voted Thursday night to settle out of court with Gary Hopkins, the man who filed a lawsuit earlier this year after officers used excessive force on him during an arrest in 2011.
The city will offer Hopkins $22,500 to drop the lawsuit. The police video shows Hopkins being pulled from the back of the police car and punched repeatedly. Hopkins was handcuffed and on the ground during the incident. He was treated at Huntsville Hospital for his injuries.
Police Chief Lewis Morris fired Officer Brett Russell for his role in the incident but the council voted to reinstate him in August of this year. He was put on a 30-day unpaid suspension and ordered to complete an anger management program.
City Attorney Peter Joffrion says settling out of court is not unusual.
"Probably happens more often then not. It's certainly a benefit to the taxpayers, if there is some exposure, for cases not to go all the way to trial. It saves a lot of taxpayer money."
Neither Joffrion nor the council members were able to comment on the case any further due to the fact that the case is not actually closed yet.
It will not be officially over until Hopkins accepts the offer and signs paperwork releasing the city of responsibility. This is the second legal settlement the council has had to deal with this year. Edith Stewart was paid $25,000 after another Huntsville officer allegedly used excessive force on her during a traffic stop.