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Law Enforcement: Minneapolis Pays For Drug Raid Cop's Attack on Bystander

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #600)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously two weeks ago today to pay $495,000 to a man who was punched in the head by a Minneapolis police officer during a drug raid last year. The payment settled a pending federal lawsuit filed by the victim, 53-year-old Eldridge Chatman.

Chatman stepped out of his public housing apartment just before noon on April 11, 2008, only to encounter a Minneapolis police SWAT team preparing to execute a drug raid in the apartment hallway. The lead officer, Craig Taylor, carrying a submachine gun, attempted to signal Chatman to move out from in front of an apartment door the team sought to enter, then punched him in the head when he failed to move.

Chatman required two brain surgeries to stanch bleeding in his head caused by a subdural hematoma resulting from the punch. He also lost a tooth.

Chatman was represented by attorney Bob Bennett, who has made a pastime of suing the Minneapolis police for brutality and civil rights violations. Bennett said last Friday there was no reason to use force on Chatman because he did nothing wrong and posed no threat to officers.

Bennett also drew a parallel between Chatman's case and the recent scandal over the release of a Minneapolis police squad car video showing six officers kicking and punching another black man, Derryl Jenkins, after a traffic stop in February. Both cases involved "African-American males who showed the slightest inclination to not obey" a command. "There's a subset of people the police think they can use force on and get away with," Bennett said.

The six-figure pay out has parallels, too. Last December, the city awarded $612,000 to a family after police mistakenly raided their house in 2007. One family member, fearing intruders, fired a shotgun blast, and police shot back. No one was injured. In December 2007, the city paid out $4.5 million to police officer Duy Ngo after he was shot six times by a fellow officer during an undercover operation in 2003.

Until the city fathers can get their police under control, the good burghers of Minneapolis can expect to pay out more of their hard-won tax dollars to the victims of those who are supposed to serve and protect. Also in the meanwhile, the perpetrator (Officer Taylor) remains on the force.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


joebanana (not verified)

They make complete video camera/solid state drive units that can be worn, just put a timestamp in em, and require full video/ audio monitoring while they have a gun on. We also must insist on full video monitoring of all government offices, and I don't mean public monitoring, I mean, full office coverage, for all elected officials. period. And court buildings too, chambers, clerks office DA's office, every government office, we have the right to keep an eye on them just as much as they think they have the right to put cameras every where they can in 'public" places, and with all the corruption lately, we need it.

Sat, 09/12/2009 - 4:46am Permalink
Robert Walker (not verified)

The problem with ending prohibition, in my opinion, is: What would we do with all of the policemen and women who would become unnecessary? They have no real life skills unless killing maiming is wanted. HEY! We could use those useless men and women to fight the illegal wars in the several arenas around the world!
They would still be creating havoc, and the useful men and women now being wasted in those silly wars could be brought back home and once more become productive members of society.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

Sun, 09/13/2009 - 12:11pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Robert Walker (not verified)

These men and women of law enforcement are ideally suited to join the Taliban. These law enforcement types have been trained how to use lies, intimidation, violence, killing, theft, fines, arrest and prison. With the Taliban, they could continue working for the same kinds of people, doing the same things, for the same reasons. Narcotics officers and their ilk are ready-made to impose the will of a religious-inspired, moneyed and political power elite on the population of a whole country.

Wed, 09/30/2009 - 10:40am Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

The hand that held the billyclub can use an axe on deadwood now threatening more wildfire in California and other drought-stricken zones! Contracting companies such as famous and beloved Halliburton can perform their catering and security thing for millions of guest workers from Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and other underemployment-stricken lands living in FEMA camp housing along roads and streambeds where the work of brushfilling for water retention goes forward. Then into the mass of cellulose fastgrowing invasive seeds can be scattered-- GAIH (Government-Approved Industrial Hemp), WLLW (Weepy Long Leaf Watertree) etc.

Because the deadwood is to be placed in streambeds to retain water the project could be named Bushwater and someone from an appropriately named famous political family made the czar over the program. (In July, 2001, before being distracted by other things, President George W. Bush was pictured with hatchet in hand under a headline: "Bush takes a Whack at Forest Fires.")

Mon, 09/14/2009 - 9:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This was written from a very negative stand point against police, the people who are trying to keep all of us safe. These officers have their lives on the line everyday and have to deal with bad people who make poor decisions each day... until you have walked in their shoes, confronting situations that are dangerous you can't understand how to react. This is not a race thing either, but a basic understanding on how to conduct yourself in life.

I think it was an injustice that Minnapolis paid all this money out to someone who lives in public housing who has a history of drug addiction and has not held a stable job in years - I smell something fishy. Minneapolis needs to hire a big time legal team to have on staff instead of paying money for stupid cases by drug addicts that can't obey an order from police to get out of the way. Its sad that everyone gives police officers such a hard time these days. Many are just good guys, doing a hard job and they certainly deserve out respect because I am pretty sure many of us couldn't hack it!

PS... If we all keep complaining about stuff, soon the cops won't be able to do anything anymore! Then where does that leave us when someone get their house broken into, roughed up, a drug deal happens or their is a shooting... Decision are hard and reacting to it is hard.

Thu, 10/08/2009 - 12:48am Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

He punched a guy for no reason, in the head. The guy needed brain surgery as a result. If I did that to someone, I'd be in jail, even if it was somehow all a mistake. Why should there be a lower standard of conduct for police than for the rest of us? I don't think that makes any sense.

Don't apologize for police violence. The cop should no longer be a cop for what he did -- he's a public menace, this incident shows it -- and the city got off easy.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Thu, 10/08/2009 - 1:17am Permalink

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