On November 3, 2016, in Michigan, a U.S. District Court federal jury awarded William Jennings a record $37 million in a verdict against five Genesee County jail guards. Jennings had filed the suit claiming the use of excessive force.
The night that officers arrested William Jennings, the jailhouse camera captured a harrowing scene. What was supposed to be a routine drunk driving arrest ended up in a disturbing show of force from the police? Officers had severely beaten Jennings, smashing his face into a wall, and even tying him up after placing a bag over his head.
Luckily, the video evidence was able to make a difference in his case.
Jennings sued the five Genesee County officers who were involved that night. The guards argued that Jennings was drunk, non-compliant, combative, and resistant. Even though that was the case, the jury still deemed that the level of force used was unjustified. The jury watched the videotape that recorded most of the incident. Jennings was handcuffed and still suffered extreme violence from the officers.
As a result of his beating, Jennings suffered broken facial bones, a chipped tooth, a torn rotator cuff, and nerve damage.
This case was a landmark in the state because of the amount the victim was able to get. Not only that but as instances of police brutality across the country are continuously hitting the media, this verdict sends a message.
Local attorneys speculated that with the award of $37 million, the jury must have felt compelled to make a statement. Their statement is that this conduct will not be tolerated.
Finally giving Jennings a sense of justice, the court’s decision made it clear that the penal system will not tolerate police brutality. Over half the settlement awarded to Jennings was for punitive damages.
The police brutality attorneys at Michigan Legal Center will fight by your side to ensure that you get justice. We want to make sure those who abuse their power are held accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been a victim of police brutality, contact us today.