A federal jury in Atlanta has awarded $100 million to panhandler Jerry Blasingame who was injured during a chase with the police. Police took after Blasingame on foot before shooting him with a stun gun. Blasingame then fell over and broke his neck, several media outlets have reported.
At the time of the incident, Blasingame, 69, was asking drivers for money before he was pursued by officer John Grubbs.
Jurors said in their verdict that Grubbs used excessive force. The jurors recommended that the Atlanta Police Department pay $60 million and Grubbs should pay $40 million, WXIA-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Blasingame’s lawyer Ven Johnson confirmed that Blasingame now requires round-the-clock care, which costs $1 million per year. Johnson also confirmed that Blasingame has racked up $14 million in medical bills since the accident.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Grubbs got out of his patrol car and ordered Blasingame to stop. Blasingame didn’t comply and Grubbs then ran towards him.
“Grubbs gets out of the car and starts chasing my client, a 65-year-old man, and for what? For potentially asking people for money?” Johnson said.
The city of Atlanda filed a motion for a directed verdict. A ruling from judge Steve Jones may amend the jury’s verdict based on that motion.
Judge Steve Jones has yet to rule on the request, online court records have confirmed. Jones ruled before deliberations commenced that it was possible jurors to pass a verdict that Grubb’s used unreasonable and excessive force, but they could also take into consideration the city’s verdict.
“The record would allow the jury to find that Mr. Blasingame had not been committing a serious crime before he was tased/ that Officer Grubbs did not fear for his safety/ and that the exigent circumstances were not otherwise so severe as to permit Officer Grubbs’ use of force,” Jones wrote Friday.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: KHALEEJTIMES.COM
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