65-year-old Yuba City man Gregory Gross, an Army veteran, was severely beaten and paralyzed by police there when he argued with them during a traffic stop. Officials announced yesterday they will pay him $20m to end his lawsuit against the city. The AP reports that it's one of the largest settlements in California history.
Gross was left with a broken neck, and he underwent two surgeries to fuse his spine. He said the officers' use of force left him unable to walk or care for himself, and he now needs round-the-clock nursing care for the rest of his life.
"We are not against the police," said Attorney Moseley Collins, who represents Gross. "We are for the police, but we are against police brutality when it occurs."
The settlement is among one of the largest police misconduct settlements in California history. In May, the state agreed to pay $24 million to the family of a man who died in police custody after screaming, "I can't breathe," as multiple officers restrained him while trying to take a blood sample.
From the stories, it appears city officials fought to the end to prevent on-demand access to police bodycam footage–"random audits" is what they finally agreed to. They rolled this astonishing amount of money from their own taxpayers (who might not pay the cash, but certainly pay the premiums) not to compensate Gregory Gross but to avoid further police accountability.
In the police body camera video supplied by Gross' lawyers, an officer is seen twisting Gross' already handcuffed arms and forcibly seating him on a lawn. At one point, officers slammed him on the ground and held him facedown as Gross repeatedly cried out that he couldn't feel his legs and he couldn't breathe.
"Mr. Gross, we are done with your silly little games," an officer tells him.
See if you can spot the specific courtesy still being shown to An Officer. In terms of exonerative newswriting, the AP headline describes the beating as a "run-in" with police, while CBS News went with "police encounter," as if having your neck broken by screaming cops suggested the title of a saucy romance novel.