Society

Police Brutality Case In Alabama Ends With Settlement Money Going To Lawyers

| by Jared Keever

The city council of Birmingham, Ala., voted Tuesday night to pay a $460,000 settlement in a six-year-old police brutality lawsuit. 

But the plaintiff in the suit, who remains behind bars, will not see much of the money. 

AL.com reports Anthony Warren will receive $1,000 of the expenditure approved by the council. The remaining $459,000 will go to his lawyers to pay their fees and expenses. The settlement was reportedly agreed to in September but had to wait until Tuesday’s meeting for a vote to make it official.

Warren is serving 20 years in a state prison for trying to run over a Hoover, Ala., police officer during a 2008 car chase that raced through numerous Alabama cities. 

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The 25-minute chase reportedly began as Warren attempted to flee from an area narcotics officer. WBMA reported that during the course of the chase Warren slammed into a school bus, after which “dozens” of police cars joined the pursuit. 

At one point during the chase Warren swerved to hit the Hoover officer, who was attempting to lay tire-puncture strips across the highway.

The chase ended as Warren rolled his van and was ejected from the vehicle. Dash cam footage from officers’ patrol cars shows that they beat him for roughly 10 seconds. 

For that beating Warren filed a federal civil rights lawsuit as well as state criminal charges against many of the officers. The federal lawsuit also named the city of Birmingham as well Police Chief A.C. Roper. 

“During the chase Mr. Warren endangered the lives of numerous innocent civilians and police officers,” Birmingham officials said in a written statement. “The chase ended shortly after Mr. Warren struck a Hoover police officer with his vehicle on Highway 31. Although deadly force was warranted at various points during the chase, the officers testified that their goal was to preserve Mr. Warren's life and the lives of innocent bystanders.”

Many of the officers were acquitted of the state criminal charges. In 2011, two of the officers were found not guilty of violating Warren’s civil rights by a federal jury. A federal judge also dismissed a number of Warren’s claims against the city and Roper. 

But five officers remained with federal civil litigation pending against them. They faced unlimited liability in the case and could have been forced to pay a monetary award for punitive damages. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the officers admitted no liability and all parties agreed not to file any appeals from prior court rulings, effectively ending the six-year legal dispute. 

Sources: AL.com, WBMA

Photo Source: ABCAL.com