Two San Diego police officers made a mistake so regrettable last June that the city is willing to pay the victims $450,000 to drop their lawsuit.
The victims in the case are Shannon Robinson and Dante Harrell. The couple were on their way to lunch one day when they were stopped by San Diego police officers Ariel Savage and Daniel McClain. The officers spotted Robinson’s Pontiac Sunfire and decided to run the tags on the car to see if it was stolen. One officer made a mistake when typing in the tag number, and the errant results showed that the tags belonged to a Honda. The officers pulled Robinson and Harrell over.
Robinson’s car came back clean after police ran the correct plate numbers. Nevertheless, the officers asked the couple for their IDs. That’s when Robinson, aware that she was being detained for no reason, called 911.
“Hi, what’s going on there?” the 911 operator asked.
“I have a couple of your officers, they have stopped me,” Robinson responded. “He stopped me by mistake … pushed his button and my license plate came back as a Honda.”
As Robinson talked to the 911 operator, one of the officers tried to grab her phone.
"I have your supervisor on the phone," Robinson is heard saying on the 911 call. "I'm talking to your supervisor on the phone. Get your hands off me."
Harrell said the phone call angered the officers, and claims one of them said, “They're on the phone with our supervisor, isn't that childish? I'm about to OC them.”
OC is another term for pepper spray.
Sure enough, both Robinson and Harrell were pepper sprayed moments later. Harrell was also Tasered multiple times.
“They pepper sprayed me!” Robinson yells out on the phone call. “They pepper sprayed me and my husband!”
The couple filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego following the stop. A judge ruled the officers detained, pepper sprayed, and Tased the couple illegally. The city awarded Robinson and Harrell $450,000 in exchange for their dropping the lawsuit. Savage and McClain remain on the San Diego police force today.