Four years after an encounter with police left him paralyzed, a 65-year-old Atlanta man scored a victory in the courtroom last week, with a federal jury awarding him $100 million.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports a jury on Friday ruled that police officer Jon Grubbs used an unreasonable amount of force during a 2018 arrest of Jerry Blasingame.
Blasingame filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2019 after he was paralyzed from the neck down during the arrest. While Blasingame attempted to flee law enforcement, Grubbs tased him, which caused the former to fracture his neck after falling and hitting his head on cement. Body camera footage of the arrest shows Blasingame unconscious and motionless.
“He was panhandling and the police, of course, rolled up on him, chased him and then ran after him,” Blasingame’s attorney Ven Johnson told the court.
“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’s use of force,” Judge Steve Jones wrote Friday.
Blasingame, who now needs round-the-clock care costing $1 million a year, has already accrued $14 million in medical bills.
The jury found the City of Atlanta and Grubbs of violating Blasingame’s civil rights. As a result, the City of Atlanta has been ordered to pay Blasingame $60 million, in addition to another $40 million from Grubbs.