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Rodney Brown: Cleveland reaches $375,000 settlement with family of man who died in custody

Family of Rodney Brown now in talks
Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 17:00:51-04

The family of a man who died while in Cleveland police custody settled a federal lawsuit with the city.

The new development comes as the case, alleging excessive force led to the death of 40-year-old Rodney Brown in 2010, was set to go to trial in a couple of weeks.

Attorneys representing both parties, as well as the victim’s family and the police officers named in the suit, spent Tuesday afternoon behind closed doors in Judge Christopher Boyko’s chambers, but neither side would comment publicly about details.

The City of Cleveland said Wednesday that they had agreed to a $375,000 settlement. The settlement is subject to approval by the probate court.

Brown went into cardiac arrest and died on New Year’s Eve 2010, after officers pulled him over near E. 113th Street and Benham Avenue because they said he was driving without working headlights.

In court documents, Officer Michael Chapman said he decided to make an arrest after Brown refused to show a driver’s license and “reluctantly” followed commands to exit the vehicle.

Chapman stated that while he and his partner Belal Ilain were making the arrest, Brown “tensed up and just slung us both away from him.” Chapman said Brown did not follow an order get on the ground, instead walking toward him. Chapman said he then pulled out his Tazer and struck Brown in the chest.

But in court filings, the Brown family said the deceased complied with demands to exit the car and the initiation of force was done “without having any probable cause or reasonable suspicion to do so."

Records show Chapman used the Tazer five times during the struggle, as Brown ran away. Other officers, who were called for back up, also deployed their Tazers before Brown went into cardiac arrest and died.

Brown can be heard on a police dispatch recording saying “I can’t breathe,” before another officer replies, “So? Who gives a f***?”

Chapman, Ilain and 10 other Cleveland police officers are named in the suit, which was set to go to trial on October 11.

Read the original complaint, Cleveland's response and the transcript from an emergency dispatch recording below.

Dispatch audio:

Dispatch Audio from Rodney Brown incident by Courtney Nicole on Scribd

Complaint:

Rodney Brown Complaint by Courtney Nicole on Scribd

Response to complaint:

Answer to Rodney Brown Complaint by KimAnderson on Scribd

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